Governors Ask Obama to Reschedule Marijuana
– On a press call this afternoon, Governor Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island and
Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington announced that they have petitioned
the federal government to change the schedule of marijuana under the Controlled
Substances Act, a move they claim will remove the conflict between federal drug
laws and state laws that allow the establishment of medical marijuana
dispensaries or compassion centers. Currently, marijuana is listed as Schedule
I by the Drug Enforcement Agency alongside heroin and LSD, which means that the
federal government considers marijuana to have no accepted medical use.
Marijuana Policy Project had a mixed reaction to the news.
is a good first step, in that it shows that politicians are catching up with
the scientific consensus, which is that marijuana has medical value,” said Rob
Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “If it succeeds,
federal law will finally acknowledge that fact. Rescheduling marijuana,
however, will not change the federal penalties for possessing, cultivating, or
distributing medical marijuana. That is the change we really need. These
governors should be insisting that the federal government allow them to run
their medical marijuana operations the ways they see fit, which should include
selling medical marijuana
through state-licensed dispensaries.”
Island passed a law mandating the creation of three compassion centers
throughout the state prior to Gov. Chafee’s term, but Gov. Chafee failed to
implement the law, citing fears of federal enforcement against compassion
centers operators. Similar legislation was passed in Washington earlier this
year, but significant portions of the bill were vetoed by Gov. Gregoire,
including a plan to legally establish medical marijuana distribution centers.
Both governors pointed to a series of threatening letters sent by U.S.
attorneys suggesting that medical marijuana dispensaries could be targeted.