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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."

King County Prosecutor Puts Medical Marijuana Businesses 'On Notice'

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Washington lawmakers say they are confident a bipartisan agreement will emerge to regulate the state's medical marijuana industry.

At a Tuesday news conference, King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg said Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana industry is “unworkable” and “needs to be fixed.

He said it’s time for a “clear line” that says if you’re in the medical marijuana business you need a state license to operate.

Satterberg said right now it’s the “Wild West” with some operators using medical dispensaries as a cover to sell marijuana to anyone.

“Today, we put those people on notice who are abusing the system,” he said. “Today, we put the people who are selling black market marijuana through retail outlets on notice that you’re going to have start winding down your business.”

Washington lawmakers tried and failed last year to regulate the medical marijuana market. This year, Republicans and Democrats have competing proposals. But both sides seem confident a bipartisan agreement will emerge.

Lawmakers say their goal is to protect patient access to medical cannabis. At the same time there are concerns the current medical market threatens the state’s new highly-regulated recreational marijuana marketplace.

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."