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Medical marijuana bill passes Senate

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 3, 2011 at 9:56 am |
March 3, 2011 9:56 am

After a late night of debate, state senators voted at 10:38 p.m. Wednesday to legalize and license medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Approval came on a vote of 29-20 despite the opposition of law enforcement groups.

But before sending SB 5073 to the House, the Senate added two amendments authored by an opponent, Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, that could limit the spread of dispensaries around the state.

The changes, approved narrowly by the Senate (one of them passing by just one vote) give cities and counties the power to prevent dispensaries from opening. By refusing to approve a dispensary, local governments could carve out areas of the state where marijuana isn’t legally sold.

Dispensaries would have to be nonprofits.

Support and opposition for the bill crossed party lines. Nearly a third of the yes votes came from minority Republicans, and more than a third of no votes came from Democrats.

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