Pubdate: Wed, 19 Feb 2014
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2014 The Daily Herald Co.
Author: Rachel La Corte, Associated Press
Page: A6


OLYMPIA (AP) - A measure to overhaul the state's medical marijuana
system cleared the House late Monday night, a move supporters say is
necessary to bring it into line with the still-developing legal
recreational market.

House Bill 2149 passed just before midnight on a 67-29 vote. It now
heads to the Senate, which is considering similar measures addressing
how to reconcile the two marijuana systems.

Changes under the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eileen Cody
include reducing the amount of marijuana and number of plants patients
can possess, doing away with collective gardens and establishing a
patient registry.

Cody said that lawmakers are trying to align the systems, "but
continue to make sure our legitimate medical marijuana patients have

"I think that we can satisfy some of the patients," she said after the
vote. "I don't think that all of the medical marijuana community will
be happy."

The state has allowed medical use of marijuana since 1998. The passage
of Initiative 502 in 2012 allowed the sale of the drug to adults for
recreational use at licensed stores, which are expected to open by
this summer.

Lawmakers have worried that the largely unregulated medical system
would undercut the taxed, recreational industry, and U.S. Justice
Department officials have warned that the state's medical pot status
quo is untenable.

Medical marijuana patients have flocked to public hearings on the
issue in both the Senate and House in recent weeks, decrying the
potential changes.
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