Legislature down to the wire on medical marijuana fixes

The Seattle TimesMarch 13, 2014 

Legalizing Marijuana

A marijuana plant grows at the River Rock marijuana growing facility in Denver, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013.

BRENNAN LINSLEY — ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s unclear what will happen to medical marijuana as the state Legislature heads into Thursday, its last scheduled day of this session.

The Senate passed Saturday sweeping new rules for the largely unregulated medical system to reconcile it with the state’s new recreational pot system. Sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, the bill passed with the supermajority required because it amends Initiative 502, the recreational pot law.

But the bill hit a snag in the House where Republicans led by Rep. Cary Condotta of East Wenatchee insisted that cities and counties should get a cut of the new recreational pot taxes to compensate for enforcing the new law. Condotta called the legal pot law an unfunded mandate.

House Finance Chair Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, said he’s not opposed to revenue sharing. But Carlyle wants it to be based on data and known impacts of the new law. And that won’t be available until next year when pot stores have been open for a while. Carlyle also acknowledged that Democrats want pot tax revenues for education spending.

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