Gov. Gregoire wants DEA to reclassify marijuana

Nov 30, 2011

Olympia, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana so that doctors can prescribe it and pharmacists can fill the prescription.

The governors want the federal government to list marijuana as a "schedule 2" drug, allowing it to be used for medical treatment. Marijuana is currently classified a "schedule 1" drug, meaning it's not accepted medical use for treatment in the United States and can't be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use, according to the DEA.

“Poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate,” Gregoire said. “Sixty percent of voters in our state said yes on a 1998 ballot measure. An ever-growing number of doctors now tell thousands of suffering patients they may find relief from the unique medicinal qualities of cannabis. There is simply no question that pharmacists could safely and reliably dispense cannabis to patients -- just as they do for other controlled and more problematic drugs.” 

Washington voters approved a medical marijuana law in 1998. That law gives doctors the right to recommend — but not prescribe — marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other conditions that cause "intractable pain."

“Americans’ attitudes toward medically prescribed marijuana are changing, and medical organizations throughout the country – including the Rhode Island Medical Society and the American Medical Association – have come to recognize the potential benefits of marijuana for medical use,” Governor Chafee said.