Governor Christine Gregoire and the governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, have petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration to ease up regulations on marijuana, and reclassify it for medical use alongside commonly used but controlled drugs like methadone, morphine, Oxycodone, and Ritalin.
In a letter to Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Gregoire wrote that she is “concerned” that patients prescribed medical marijuana “do not have a safe and consistent source of the drug” in Washington.
“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis,” the letter says. “State and local governments cannot…ensure a safe supply is available for…medical use without putting their employees at risk of violating federal law.”
The letter also emphatically states that classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin, mescaline, and LSD is “fundamentally wrong and should be changed.”
Gregoire’s appeal to the DEA seems to be an attempt to address an issue she previously pointed to one of the larger issues with marijuana reform in Washington.
In April, Gregoire vetoed key portions of state medical marijuana reform legislation because, she said, it could potentially expose state employees to federal prosecution.
With Gregoire out of office in a matter of months, it would come as a bit of a surprise if the DEA moved quickly—or did anything at all—to respond to Gregoire’s appeal. Naturally, Washington pot activists are a bit skeptical,too.
Philip Dawdy, spokesman for the Washington Alternative Medicine Alliance, responded with some caution in his own statement this afternoon:
While I appreciate the governors sticking their necks out on this issue and giving political legitimacy to what medical cannabis patients and voters in this state have known for decades, the DEA has a long track record of opposing any attempt to reschedule cannabis and continues to claim that cannabis has no accepted medical uses. It will be interesting to see how the DEA responds.
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.