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It's official: Governor makes marijuana legal in Colorado (+video)

On Monday, Colorado become the second state to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. Washington also voted to legalize pot this November, and 18 states have decriminalized the drug. 

By Dan WhitcombReuters / December 10, 2012


Pot smokers formally gained the right to light up in Colorado on Monday as Governor John Hickenlooper signed into effect a controversial ballot measure legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use in what proponents hailed as a "historic day."

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Hickenlooper's signature, largely a formality, made Colorado the second U.S. state after Washington to legalize recreational pot use, and put it on a possible collision course with the federal government - which calls marijuana an illegal drug.

"Voters were loud and clear on Election Day," Hickenlooper said in a statement released by his office. "We will begin working immediately with the General Assembly and state agencies to implement Amendment 64."

The ballot measure, approved by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent, amends Colorado's constitution to legalize the personal use and possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of pot by adults 21 and over. It also allows users to grow up to six plants at home.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat who had opposed the amendment but said he would respect the will of voters, had been required by law to issue the executive order, or "official declaration of the vote," within 30 days of certification by Colorado's secretary of state on Dec. 6.

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