JONATHAN J. COOPER
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon is legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries.
Gov. John Kitzhaber signed a bill on Wednesday giving the state authority to license, inspect and audit stores selling marijuana.
Medical marijuana patients currently are required to grow the drug themselves or designate someone to grow it for them.
Dozens of marijuana dispensaries exist already, but they are not explicitly allowed and operate in a legal gray area. Authorities have moved to shut them down in some areas.
Proponents say existing businesses should be brought under state scrutiny to protect patients. Critics say the dispensaries will make it easier for criminals to abuse the medical marijuana program.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.