A conference committee on a bill to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries failed to reach an agreement Friday, but its deadline has now been extended until Monday.

Rep. Della Au Belatti had deferred House Bill 321 after she and Sen. Josh Green couldn’t agree on the application process for potential dispensary owners.

Belatti wanted a merit-based process, similar to several other states including Minnesota and Colorado. Green wanted to choose applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, which he argued was more transparent.

Rep Della Au Belatti storms out of meeting after deferring marijuana dispensary bill.  1 may 2015. photograph by Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Rep Della Au Belatti leaves the hearing room after deferring the medical marijuana dispensary bill.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The bill’s apparent failure disappointed numerous advocates who have spent 15 years fighting for a dispensary system since medical marijuana was legalized in Hawaii in 2000.

Sen. Will Espero, who was on the conference committee, said after the hearing broke up that he planned to talk to Senate leaders about whether there was a way to resurrect the measure, and legislators seemed to be attempting that.

Next week is the last week of the legislative session, and conference committee negotiations were supposed to conclude by 6 p.m. Friday.

This is a developing story. Check Civil Beat later for more updates.

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