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Ore. Panel OKs Medical Pot Dispensaries

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File photo of a person weighing cannabis. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a person weighing cannabis. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A legislative budget committee has signed off on a bill that would legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon.

The Ways and Means Committee approved the bill on Wednesday, sending it to the full House for a vote.

Medical marijuana retail outlets exist now in Oregon, but they operate in a legal gray area and run the risk of being shut down.

Current law says cardholders must grow the pot themselves or designate someone to grow it for them.

Supporters say the bill would make it easier for the state’s 53,000 medical marijuana card holders to get their medicine.

Opponents say they’re concerned the legislation is a step toward legalizing marijuana.

Voters last November rejected a ballot measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana use. Voters rejected legalizing dispensaries in 2010.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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