Senate passes bill to regulate medical marijuana

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A measure to overhaul the state's medical marijuana system cleared the Senate as the state moves to merge that largely unregulated market with the still-developing legal recreational market.

Senate Bill 5887 passed Saturday on a 34-15 vote and now heads to the House, which passed a similar measure last month. Both chambers will now negotiate a final bill to reconcile the medical market with the recreational market approved by voters in the fall of 2012.

Changes under the bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Ann Rivers of La Center include reducing the amount of marijuana and number of plants patients can possess, doing away with collective gardens and establishing a patient registry. The measure also allows patients with an authorization card to not pay sales and use tax at retail stores.

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