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In 2012, Washington and Colorado voters made history when they approved measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington Initiative 502 “authorizes the state liquor board to regulate and tax marijuana for persons twenty-one years of age or older.”Since the vote in Washington, the Liquor Board has written a complex set of rules for the state’s new, legal recreational cannabis marketplace. The agency has also set limits on the amount of marijuana that can be grown. And the Board has begun to license growers, processors and retailers.For now, the Obama administration has signaled it will not interfere with Washington and Colorado’s legal pot experiment, unless there is evidence that legal pot is “leaking” to other states or children are getting access to the legal product. The feds are also watching to see if criminal organizations exploit the legal market.The first marijuana retail stores in Washington opened in July 2014.Recreational marijuana is also set to become legal in Oregon on July 1, 2015 after voters approved Measure 91 in November 2014.

Medical Marijuana Patients Denounce Proposed Plant Limits, Patient Registry

Cannabis Training University
File photo of a of a cannabis plant.

One of the hottest topics before the Washington legislature this year is how to regulate the medical marijuana marketplace.

Lawmakers plan to consider several proposals -- including whether to establish a patient registry and limits on the number of plants patients can grow at home.

At a hearing Wednesday, lawmakers heard plenty of criticism from patients and their advocates, including Ryan Day who said his five-year-old son takes a high dose marijuana extract to control severe epilepsy.

“I was a U.S. Marine. I’ve never done drugs in my life," Day said. "My wife is an elementary school teacher with an advanced degree in teaching mathematics to special needs children. We are good taxpaying, law abiding citizens who just want to help our son.”

But Day said the proposed limit of three plants per patient for home grows wouldn’t produce enough medicine for his son.

Washington’s Liquor Control Board and other agencies have proposed to lawmakers that they roll the current unregulated medical marijuana marketplace into the state’s new regulated recreational market.

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."