Local law enforcement not sure what's next after passage of I-502

CLARKSTON, WA - Washington state voters have approved Initiative 502, which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana.

"We're confused," said Asotin County Sheriff. "Where do we go from here?"

While the passage of Initiative 502, which legalizes marijuana in Washington is seen as a milestone, Asotin County Sheriff Ken Bancroft said he's in the dark as to what comes next in the decriminalization process.

"The only saving grace on this right now, is that it's going to be some time before everything gets put into place at the state level," said Bancroft.

That's because it's still illegal federally, which means people can be arrested by federal law enforcement agents for possessing the now legal amount of cannabis in Washington.

Outreach Director Tonia Winchester of New Approach Washington said that as of December 6th, Washington residents 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of marijuana infused products in solid form, or up to 72 ounces of marijuana infused products in liquid form. It's around that time when the lawmaking process begins.

"December 1st is when the year-long law making process will begin with the liquor control board and other relevant state agencies to promulgate the supply side of Initiative 502," said Winchester.

Winchester said they're hoping to bring in the federal government into the discussion.

"At that time, we're very much hoping to have a conversation with the federal government to see the will of Washington voters be implemented," said Winchester.

Winchester said local and state law enforcement won't be able to arrest anyone for the legal amounts, starting December 6th. However Bancroft said that won't stop officers from tipping off federal law enforcement agencies.

"Sure," said Bancroft. "Once again it's still federal law that it's against, so we have that obligation."

Winchester said it'll take about a year before stores can open up and start selling marijuana.

The initiative passed Tuesday with more than 55% of ballots counted voting yes.