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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Marijuana On The Agenda As Washington Legislature Convenes

Marijuana will be a big focus in the next Washington legislative session.

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."