News » Four States Now Petitioning Feds To Reclassify Cannabis
December 13, 2011 by Aaron Turpen
Four states, including Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, and Colorado, are now petitioning the federal government to reclassify marijuana so it is no longer a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule 1 drugs are the only drugs not allowed to be prescribed by a doctor under federal law and the states are arguing that with 17 jurisdictions in the U.S. (and more likely to be added) allowing cannabis for medicinal use, the scheduling of marijuana should be changed to remove conflict between states and the federal government.
Governors Lincoln Chaffee, Peter Shumlin and Christine Gregroire (of RI, VT, and WA respectively) have signed the petition while Colorado’s governor has not, but the state has filed its own formal request similar to the petition. This is due to time constraints in Colorado law, which require a filing by January 1, but doesn’t mean they may not sign on to the current petition.
While the re-scheduling would not affect law or the legality of possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana, it would remove the impetus for federal prosecution of state-legal dispensaries and caregivers.
Although the DEA has rejected citizen petitions in the past asking for the same thing, this new petition is the first to be signed by state governors and would be a little more difficult to just brush off.
Governor Gregoire says she has spoken with governors from other MMJ states and there is a lot of interest in the petition. She expects others to sign on soon.
The petition itself is no small matter. It’s 100 pages long and contains a remarkable amount of exhibit data to support the request. It is addressed directly to the Drug Enforcement Administration and can be read, in its entirety, on the Washington governor’s website here.
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