Washington businessmen toast ‘the beginning of the end of prohibition’

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, December 6, 2012 9:09 EDT
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Former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively (center) celebrates marijuana legalization in Washington state.
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As marijuana legalization became the law of the land in Washington state as of midnight, Jamen Shively rang a bell and raised a toast to what he called “the beginning of the end of prohibition.”

Shively, a former Microsoft executive, joined fellow businessmen Wednesday night in celebrating both the legalization of marijuana in the state and the formation of his new enterprise, Diego Pellicer, a premium marijuana business named after his grandfather, who made and sold hemp rope.

As fellow marijuana enthusiasts celebrated under Seattle’s space needle for a midnight smoke-out and party, the board members of Pellicer gathered for a lower-key event to mark what Shively told GeekWire is “the most exhilarating moment in my entire career.”

“I have a lot of faith in this country and in the American people,” he told Seattle’s KOMO News. “I can feel it. The time has come. We’re going to make this completely legal throughout the Untied States.”

Although it’s easy to see his enthusiasm, marijuana sales are still illegal in Washington and around the nation. State regulators have a year to hammer out the finer details of how the retail marijuana industry will take shape, meaning the debate now shifts into how the long-banned herb will be integrated into the consumer pantheon.

So far, the federal government hasn’t said much about legal marijuana, other than to warn that it is illegal to drive with marijuana in the bloodstream and that federal employees could get in serious trouble if they imbibe the substance.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle also reminded enthusiasts on Wednesday that marijuana still constitutes a federal offense, noting that the Department of Justice is still reviewing the legalization laws that passed on Election Day.

Legalization in Colorado is set to take effect on January 5.

This video was published to YouTube on Thursday, December 6, 2012.

This video is from Seattle’s KOMO News, broadcast Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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