Thousands gather on Portland bridge as Oregon eases into era of legal marijuana

Oregon is easing into an era of legal marijuana after an early-morning party on a bridge at the center of Portland.

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A few thousand people jammed a sidewalk and bike path at midnight Tuesday to mark the legalization of recreational pot in the state at 12:01 a.m.

Many who gathered at the Burnside Bridge smoked openly, which remains illegal under the law voters approved last year. A few police cars cruised by without stopping.

Last fall, voters OK'd the private use of small amounts of pot for adults.

But state officials are still working out the details of legalization. Retail sales aren't expected until Oct. 1.

Oregon is the fourth state to green-light recreational marijuana.

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Federal statistics show slightly more than 12 percent of Oregonians reporting recent marijuana use. That's nearly 5 percentage points above the national rate.