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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."

No Shortage Of Marijuana In Washington Say Researchers

File photo of a marijuana farm and production facility run by the University of Mississippi.

A University of Washington study concluded about 30 football fields worth of marijuana are needed to serve the medical marijuana market in Washington. That translates to about two million square feet of canopy.

Currently, more than 12 million square feet are approved for production.

The study was commissioned by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board and released Thursday showed there’s plenty of marijuana growing in Washington state to serve both recreational users and medical patients. And the state is not accepting license applications for any more producers.

Washington is in the process of merging medical marijuana with the highly regulated recreational pot marketplace. That merger becomes official this summer.

Under the new rules, medical marijuana patients will still be able to grow their own medicine. But the current collective gardens will go away and medical dispensaries will have to obtain a state license or close.

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."