There's only one U.S. state that sits northwest of Washington - and this week, it joined the Evergreen State in allowing its residents to own marijuana.
On Tuesday, a law went into effect in Alaska that permitted people in the state to possess and grow small amounts of pot, although purchasing the drug and/or smoking it in public will remain illegal. Under Alaska legislation known as Measure 2, adults who are at least 21 years old can own up to six marijuana plants (only three of which can be flowering at once) and possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
Americans probably don't know that Alaskans have been able to own small amounts of pot in their homes for four decades, thanks to a state Supreme Court ruling. Measure 2 expands the places where pot is legal, but also sets a $100 fine for "publicly consuming" pot. And here's a quirk of the law: residents are allowed to give and swap marijuana to and with others, but can not receive any "remuneration" for the drug.
Cities and other municipalities have the power to permit and regulate businesses that cater to on-premises marijuana consumption; but not all of them will allow such activity to take place. For instance, Wasilla (Sarah Palin's hometown) is prohibiting cannabis clubs.
Pundits are hailing Alaska's pot legalization efforts as a milestone, since it has become the first so-called "red state" to take this step. In contrast, the "bluest" region on the U.S. map, the District of Columbia, is set to legalize marijuana on Thursday.