A decades-long effort by marijuana activists to allow cannabis to be prescribed and sold in pharmacies has gained allies in governors’ mansions for the first time, says the Seattle Times. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, joined by Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana, recognize that it has therapeutic value and allow it be treated as a prescription drug.
The petition, citing hundreds of peer-reviewed research articles, adds political heft and urgency for the federal government to resolve what Gregoire called “chaos and conflict” among 16 states with laws recognizing medicinal use of marijuana and a federal law that does not. “In the year 2011, why can’t medical cannabis be prescribed by a physician and filled at the drugstore 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 said. The petition comes as America’s attitudes toward marijuana are softening, but the Obama administration is cracking down on medical-marijuana dispensaries — in Washington and other states — at an unprecedented level. Governors in medical-marijuana states were briefed on the petition to the DEA last fall, Gregoire said, and some were alerted Wednesday. “I have every expectation you’ll see other governors join us,” Gregoire said.