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Marijuana On The Agenda As Washington Legislature Convenes

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Marijuana will be among the top agenda items when the Washington legislature convenes Monday.

Specifically, lawmakers will consider what to do about the state’s unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Washington now has a highly regulated recreational pot marketplace. But the pre-existing medical marijuana system of home grows, collective gardens and dispensaries is essentially unregulated.

Last year, Washington lawmakers considered proposals to roll medical pot into the recreational system. But in the end took no action. This year the legislature is expected to debate proposals to merge the two systems or, alternatively, allow medical dispensaries, but with restrictions and regulations.

On the recreational marijuana front, there are proposals to change the taxing structure and prohibit open containers of pot in the passenger compartments of cars and trucks.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.