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Oregon Senate Votes To Regulate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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Northwest state and local governments continue to struggle with how to give birth to the new industry of legal marijuana sales.

In Salem Tuesday, the Oregon Senate voted unanimously to give cities and counties the right to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

Some communities wanted to be able to ban the storefront operations entirely.

But Democratic state Sen. Floyd Prozanski says that would be out of step with how the state regulates other prescription medication. 

"We have never given any authority to any local government to basically not allow for the dispensing of medicine within their boundaries where it is in fact legal and is recognized within the state of Oregon," Prozanski  says.

Meanwhile, in Olympia, Washington lawmakers are debating the future of the state's medical marijuana program.

The Washington House this week approved a measure that would roll the largely unregulated medical marijuana marketplace into the new highly regulated recreational one.

And in Idaho, backers of an effort to legalize medical pot in the first place are struggling to get enough signatures to force a vote on the issue in November.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.