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Legislature pushes toward allowing pot sales by October

SALEM (AP) — Retail sales of recreational marijuana could begin as soon as Oct. 1 in Oregon, sooner than had been expected.

A joint House-Senate legislative committee voted unanimously Thursday to start early sales through existing medical marijuana dispensaries. The measure heads to a vote in the Senate, likely next week.

Under a law approved last year by voters, marijuana use and possession becomes legal July 1. But regulators say it may be almost a year before they start issuing retail licenses. Until then, users would have to grow their own, get it from a friend or buy it on the black market.

Advocates say the early sales measure also will ensure a legal avenue to distribute a large amount of marijuana that's expected from the fall harvest.