Governor asks feds to reclassify marijuana, enabling medical use

With our area as one of the local epicenters of the medical-marijuana business, this might be of interest:

Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug, which will allow its use for treatment – prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacists. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI) also signed the petition.

The petition will require the Federal Drug Administration to conduct a new scientific review and analysis of recent advances in Cannabis research since the last time the FDA reviewed the matter in 2006.

“Poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate,” Gregoire said.

News release continued after the jump:

“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.”

“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. “Patients across Rhode Island and across the United States, many of whom are in tremendous pain, stand to experience some relief. Governor Gregoire and I are taking this step to urge the Federal Government to consider allowing the safe, reliable, regulated use of marijuana for patients who are suffering.”

Currently, the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. According to the DEA, drugs listed in schedule I have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and, therefore, may not be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use. In contrast, drugs listed in schedules II-V have some accepted medical use and may be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use, with controls.

“Sadly, patients must find their way along unfamiliar, uncertain paths to get what their doctors tell them would help – medical cannabis to relieve their suffering,” Gregoire said. “People weak and sick with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases and conditions suddenly feel like — or in fact become – law breakers. In the year 2011, why can’t medical cannabis be prescribed by a physician and filled at the drug store just like any other medication? The answer is surprisingly simple. It can. But only if the federal government stops classifying marijuana as unsuitable for medical treatment.”

Gregoire added that two years ago, the American Medical Association reversed its position and now supports investigation and clinical research of cannabis for medicinal use. And The American College of Physicians recently expressed similar support. Both the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington State Pharmacy support reclassification, as do the Rhode Island Medical Society and other state medical associations.

The petition includes a substantive science-based report that has been peer reviewed and cites more than 700 independent references, many of which are new science since 2006. It details non-smoking methods, and describes how recent scientific developments like affordable DNA analysis supports the pharmacy model. With modern DNA analysis, it is easy to determine the plant’s beneficial compound – and with current technology readily available today, a compounding pharmacist could easily and inexpensively quantify the levels of cannabinoids, and then use the appropriate cannabis blend to create a customized medication for an individual patient.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, any interested party is allowed to petition to add, delete or change the schedule of a drug or other substance. When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug.

To read the petition, visit:

26 Replies to "Governor asks feds to reclassify marijuana, enabling medical use"

  • Dave November 30, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    Once again…crate of wine, 8 bottles of vodka, 2 kegs of beer, and 4 cartons of Camel unfiltered cigarettes…legal. One joint…illegal.

    Just imagine an alien coming down from space, with none of our cultural historical baggage, and trying to explain to him why cigarettes (which cause cancer) are legal, and alcohol in any volume (to the point of it being fatal) is legal, but marijuana isn’t legal in any amount, hell we’re so insane we can’t even buy hemp rope because hemp is a plant LIKE the one we get marijuana from. OMG we’re crazy. FIRE all the demagoging politicians and let scientists make these rules based on logic, reason and facts, not magic and superstition.

  • Blunt Speak November 30, 2011 (1:00 pm)

    Sorry Gov., I would rather buy organically grown marijuana from a local source rather than buying from big brother (where we have no idea how it was grown). Seriously, do we need to put more $ in drug companies’ pockets? How about we legalize it all together and then tax it. It is time to shed this prude, government knows best attitude and allow ourselves to be adults and make adult decisions about what we put in our bodies.

  • Junior November 30, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    … what Blunt speak said.

  • marty November 30, 2011 (1:25 pm)

    Her usual action after the horse is out of the barn…

  • sam-c November 30, 2011 (1:43 pm)

    the aliens would also come down, look at the ads for medical marijuana dispensaries in the stranger, and assume that all nurses on our planet are scantily clad, well-endowed women.

  • boy November 30, 2011 (1:49 pm)

    Blunt how does anybody realy know where thier pot comes from. It is mostly grown for money. Pur profit and thats it. The people selling it are in it for the money and thats it. As far as you not wanting big brother involoved how do you plan on taxing it?

  • Kooshman November 30, 2011 (2:13 pm)

    Roll it up, light it up, smoke it up, inhale…exhale…..:)

  • Blunt Speak November 30, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    @Boy – Tax it like you would groceries (beer & cigarettes). Beyond regulating it like you would grocery items and imposing a minimum age for buying it, Government could and should step out of the way.

  • coffee November 30, 2011 (2:59 pm)

    Yesterday while my mother-in-law who will be 93 in 2 weeks was at her regular doctor at the poly clinic, we fessed up that we gave her a slice of laced bread to the doctor to see if it would assist her cronic and horrific pain in her leg, which btw, it did, and her doctor said keep it up if it works. Better than the tons of pills she takes, and cheaper.

  • furor scribendi November 30, 2011 (4:07 pm)

    Luckily, federal law trumps disingenuous politicians and their get-rich-quick constituents. Bluntly speaking, that’s not very sharp!

  • cj November 30, 2011 (5:04 pm)

    I don’t think it will go anywhere as the DEA would have to do some restructuring with a change [agencies tend to not like restructuring] like that but I have applaud her for the effort. That took some guts.

  • RickM November 30, 2011 (5:24 pm)

    I agree with marty. She is a shrewd master of doublespeak, covering all the angles.

  • J November 30, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    I think this is a good path. If rigorous science shows a medical benefit, why should it be treated differently from other medical drugs? We expect the FDA to regulate safety and effectiveness. The current situation lends itself to all kinds of abuse and shady practices.

  • foah2010 November 30, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    And how would this work for those who physically are unable to smoke? For me, the answer is medibles and there are some good ones out there. If the pharmacy model ever comes to pass, I wonder if the other ways of conveying medicine (medibles, tinctures, capsules) is even something that has been considered.

  • Tbone November 30, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    I don’t smoke it, or use it, but i still say legalize it. Not just via big brother or for medicinal use only – let people who want to grow, possess and use it do so…

    And let me have a bar to smoke a cigarette in!

  • WorldCitizen November 30, 2011 (7:13 pm)

    Little steps…

  • Marcus M November 30, 2011 (8:23 pm)

    So she screws everyone over with her cowardly veto, then sends a petition to the DEA asking them to consider blahblahblah? way to go Christine – so brave! I’d wager that if big pharma had a monopoly on distribution, we’d have seen it legalized 15 years ago.

  • John November 30, 2011 (9:06 pm)

    California hell hole here we come. Maybe, we can sell pot it our WS projects door to door!

  • Justine December 1, 2011 (1:25 am)

    kay now. The real issue here is benefitting people with real extreme pain issues that this medible cannabis has provided to many people who are suffering with debilitating medical issues. Please tell me you have some compassion out there to help those in need and not turn this around. Our incredibly honorable governor is fighting for those rights. Especially those in debilitatating pain.

  • Kooshman December 1, 2011 (8:15 am)

    @ John…We can only hope my man, we can only hope!

  • furor scribendi December 1, 2011 (10:01 am)

    If the active ingredient in pot (THC) is such a great pain reliever, legalize it. There are even better legal ones available: use them. Anyone trying to push pot, or trying to build political capitol by pandering to ‘potted’ voters, are not telling you the whole truth! There is no benefit to smoking pot except making fatter wallets to those growing/selling it.

  • lily December 1, 2011 (1:27 pm)

    You should have seen the amount of people signing the petition in front of Target today as they entered. More people need to see that there is a new face to marijauna users and that they are simply seeking relief from any number of legitimate causes. The classic stoner, munchies, giggling idiot stereotype needs to be put aside to see the larger picture of its mature and needed use.

  • westernSAINT December 1, 2011 (1:35 pm)

    I would hope that when a person suggests the use of ANY chemical pain reliever as being “better” than something else, they realize the ignorance of such a general statement. I would also hope that they were a doctor, and not an internet blog troll. “Better” is a subjective term in this context. Better for whom, and how? Consult your physician regarding the benefits and detriments of various medicines….. not the WSB comment section.

  • Marcus M December 1, 2011 (8:07 pm)

    @ furor scribendi … I know! what are they…capitalists?

  • malcolm kyle December 3, 2011 (3:20 am)

    If you’re a Prohibitionist then you owe us answers to the following questions:

    #1. Why do you rejoice at the fact that we have all been stripped of our 4th amendment rights and are now totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into our homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary?

    #2. Why do you wish to continue to spend $50 billion a year to prosecute and cage your fellow citizens for choosing drugs which are not more dangerous than those of which you yourself use and approve of such as alcohol and tobacco?

    #3. Do you honestly expect the rest of us to look on passively while you waste another trillion dollars on this ruinously expensive garbage policy?

    #4. Why are you waging war on your own family, friends and neighbors?

    #5. Why are you so complacent with the fact that our once ‘free & proud’ nation now has the largest percentage of it’s citizenry incarcerated than any other on the entire planet?

    #6. Why are you helping to fuel a budget crisis to the point of closing hospitals, schools and libraries?

    #7. Why do you rejoice at wasting precious resources on prohibition related undercover work while rapists and murderers walk free, while additionally, many cases involving murder and rape do not even get taken to trial because law enforcement priorities are subverted by your beloved failed and dangerous policy?

    #8. Why are you such a supporter of the ‘prison industrial complex’ to the extent of endangering our own children?

    #9. Will you graciously applaud, when due to your own incipient and authoritarian approach, even your own child is caged and raped?

    * It is estimated that there are over 300,000 instances of prison rape a year.
* 196,000 are estimated to happen to men in prison.
* 123,000 are estimated to happen to men in county jail.
* 40,000 are estimated to be committed against boys in either adult prisons or while in juvenile facilities or lock ups.
* 5000 women are estimated to be raped in prison.

    #10. And will you also applaud when your own child, due to an unnecessary and counter productive felony conviction, can no longer find employment?

  • JoMad24 December 4, 2011 (1:13 am)

    Why is this so hard for the government to understand!? Currently there are hundreds of independent studies that support and provide evidence that the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in beneficial. If the DEA does change the classification then we would be able to fund more studies that could support the benefits of cannabis, but since the medication is currently classified as a C1, researches have a difficult time getting the necessary funds to conduct their research. If it’s more evidence that the government needs to support medical marijuana then let’s start with appropriately classifying the medication so we can conduct the necessary studies without worries of prosecution. I agree with Gov. Gregoire that marijuana needs to be re-classified with the DEA to a C2 medication.

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