Dec 11, 2012 10:33 AM by AP
DENVER (AP) - Using marijuana for recreational use is now effectively legal in Colorado.
Gov. John Hickenlooper declared a voter-approved marijuana legalization amendment as part of the state constitution on Monday. It was the last procedural step needed for the amendment to take effect.
The drug became legal in Washington state last week.
Hickenlooper tweeted his declaration and announced it to reporters by email. The Democratic governor said voters were "loud and clear" when they voted last month to make pot legal without a doctor's recommendation. Adults over 21 may now possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or six plants.
Colorado and Washington officials both have asked the U.S. Department of Justice for guidance on the laws that conflict with federal drug law. Neither state will allow commercial sales for a year or more.
Books-Fifty Shades Bonus
NEW YORK (AP) - Thanks to "Fifty Shades of Grey," employees at Random House Inc. are seeing green.
Every worker, from sales to editorial to distribution, will receive a $5,000 bonus, prorated for those who joined Random House during the year. In a companywide letter sent Monday, CEO Markus Dohle noted the publisher's "unprecedented success" in 2012. EL James' erotic trilogy has sold more than 35 million copies and Random Houser also released such best-sellers as Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" and Robert Caro's "The Passage of Power."
Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said Monday that while some employees have existing bonus plans, the across-the-board payment was "unique" for the company.
Australia-Apple Maps-Drivers Stranded
SYDNEY (AP) - Australian police are warning that Apple's much-maligned mapping application is stranding drivers in the middle of a remote state park when they're actually headed to the southern city of Mildura.
Victoria state police said Tuesday that an error in Apple's Maps service places the city of Mildura about 44 miles away in the Murray Sunset National Park. The park is a desert-like 1,900-square-mile region with scorching temperatures, no water and virtually no mobile phone reception.
Police have been forced to rescue distressed drivers. Some were stranded for 24 hours with no food or water and have walked long distances through tough terrain to access phone reception.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. CEO Tim Cook apologized in September and said the map service "fell short" of Apple's standards.
Handcuffed Suspect Escapes
WHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas (AP) - Police in North Texas say a handcuffed theft suspect left alone in the back of a squad car managed to roll down a window, open the door then steal the vehicle.
Police arrested 41-year-old Darren Porter on Friday on suspicion of breaking in to an antiques shop in White Settlement near Fort Worth.
The window switches in the back of squad cars are supposed to be disabled, but not in this one. Police Lt. J.P. Bevering says Porter was able to roll down the window, reach out and open the door. Dash cam video from another squad car shows him climbing into the driver's seat and taking off.
Porter remains at large Monday.
Police say they're checking other squad cars to make sure the windows don't open.
Billboard Girlfriend Plea
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A billboard put up by a San Diego millionaire who's seeking a Latina girlfriend has been removed.
La Jolla Real estate mogul Marc Paskin, who appeared on the ABC reality show "Secret Millionaire," had the sign posted last Thursday over a freeway in the mainly Latino area of Barrio Logan. It bore the message: "All I want for Christmas is a Latina Girlfriend."
KNSD-TV reports that a day after it went up, somebody already had vandalized the billboard by peeling off Paskin's email address.
By the weekend, the message was entirely gone.
People who work nearby say kids may have vandalized it.
There's no word on whether Paskin will replace it - or whether he's found a girlfriend.