Marijuana now legal in Colorado, Washington

Colorado and Washington became the first US states to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday in defiance of federal law, setting the stage for a possible showdown with the Obama administration.

But another ballot measure to remove criminal penalties for personal possession and cultivation of recreational cannabis was defeated in Oregon, where significantly less money and campaign organization was devoted to the cause.

Supporters of a Colorado constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana were the first to declare victory, and opponents conceded defeat, after returns showed the measure garnering nearly 53 per cent of the vote versus 47 per cent against.

"Colorado will no longer have laws that steer people toward using alcohol, and adults will be free to use marijuana instead if that is what they prefer. And we will be better off as a society because of it," said Mason Tvert, co-director of the Colorado pro-legalization campaign.

Democrat IS first openly gay senator

TAMMY Baldwin on Wednesday became the first openly gay senator in US history when she defeated former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.

"I am honoured and humbled and grateful, and I am ready to get to work," she said to raucous cheers at her victory party.

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