Pot officially legal in Colorado

Denver, Colo., has more medical pot dispensaries than Starbucks, but the budding business, legal in 17 states, defies federal laws. Steve Kroft reports.

Marijuana is now legal to use and possess for those over 21-years old in Colorado after Gov. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., signed an executive order today formalizing the legal, casual use of pot into the state's constitution.

Voters approved the measure on Election Day by a margin of 55 to 45 percent. After the vote, Hickenlooper, who opposed the legalization, expressed caution, indicating that it is unclear how the state law would work in concert with national drug laws that still criminalizes pot.

But Hickenlooper's move Monday officially okayed usage, possession and limited home growing of the drug in the state. He also created a task force on implementation of the law.

Pot advocates celebrated the news, calling the move "historic."

"From this day forward, adults in Colorado will no longer be punished for the simple use and possession of marijuana. We applaud Gov. Hickenlooper for issuing this declaration in a timely fashion, so that adult possession arrests end across the state immediately," proponent Mason Tvert said in a statement.

Voters in Washington state also legalized pot this past election and the measure took effect last week.

Despite the dispute between the states and the federal government on legalization, it appears that support for the issue is on the rise. A new USA Today/Gallup pollreleased today found that 64 percent of Americans believe the federal government should not intervene in state marijuana laws.

Legalization, however, did not receive as much support. Fifty percent oppose it while 48 percent lawful pot smoking.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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