Washington had been among 20 US states to allow the uses of marijuana for physician-approved medicinal purposes.
But the implementation of the initiative passed by voters in the November 6 general election marked a first in the nation. Use of marijuana for any purpose is still prohibited under federal law.
Local police were on the scene of the Seattle smoke-in but just looked on as hundreds of people lit up pungent marijuana pipes and joints at the stroke of midnight.
Under the new law recreational smoking is permitted indoors, but remains illegal in public spaces.
Said one citizen, “Why should we have to hide it, why should we have to be criminal about something that grows out of the ground?” said another.