Celebratory pot smoking at Burnside Burn goes uncited

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Pot proponents had complained for years they wanted to stop feeling like criminals, but seconds after it became legal Wednesday, some of them went to the Burnside Bridge and broke the law.

A pot giveaway hosted by Portland Norml gave people 21 and older marijuana, which became legal at midnight.

What remains illegal is smoking marijuana in public, which is what some of the Burnside Burn attendees did.

"We can certainly hope that one day, we'll have public use venues so that we don't have to be on the side of the road," Kaliko Castille with Portland Norml said.

Portland Norml is part of a national movement that's trying to change the stigma associated with marijuana use. The group did not plan on more than a few hundred people showing up.

But as midnight approached, thousands flocked to the bridge for free weed.

"I think if we would have known that we were going to have that large of a deal, then we probably would have set it up in a much more of a controlled fashion," Castille said.

Despite smoking marijuana in public being illegal, Portland Police did not give anyone a citation.

"You choose your battles," said Sgt. Pete Simpson. "This was from what I understand, it wasn't an unruly group. It wasn't creating a huge public safety issue and that's really our main concern with any large event."

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