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News (Media Awareness Project) - US WA: Editorial: Gov Gregoire's Federal Marijuana Petition
Title:US WA: Editorial: Gov Gregoire's Federal Marijuana Petition
Published On:2011-12-05
Source:Seattle Times (WA)
Fetched On:2011-12-07 06:01:04
GOV. GREGOIRE'S FEDERAL MARIJUANA PETITION WELCOME, IF OVERDUE

Gov. Gregoire gets big points for offering a petition to the federal
government to reclassify medical marijuana. Good for her. She should
have had a similar petition ready last year.

WASHINGTON and Rhode Island Govs. Chris Gregoire and Lincoln Chafee
have petitioned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to
reclassify marijuana so it can be prescribed and sold in pharmacies.

Anything that moves the medical marijuana issue along and advances
public understanding of its therapeutic value is a plus. There was
high hope that the Obama administration would reclassify marijuana
and provide safe access to qualifying patients across the country. At
the very least, the expectation was that the administration would
leave 16 medical-marijuana states, including Washington, alone.
Instead, the federal government has been a stubborn, unhelpful player

Gregoire wins points for sticking her neck out. She and Chafee are
the first governors to take this step. But she should have done so
sooner. Reclassifying would be a big first step, but the federal
process could take years. Still, medical marijuana advocates are
impressed with the enormous amount of time and effort put into the
exhaustive petition.

But why didn't Gregoire have a petition ready to go last year?
Medical-marijuana legislation became the disaster of the 2011
session. The governor was scared off by the federal government into
vetoing most of the bill, leaving a confused mess.

It appears the governor was genuinely worried that state workers
would get in trouble with the federal government, which bans
marijuana. An overreaction. The U.S. Attorney's Office surely has
more important things to focus on.

Washington voters said years ago they wanted patients with AIDS,
cancer and similar diseases to have access to cannabis to ease pain and nausea.

As often happens, the initiative was foggy. It did not make clear how
patients were supposed to get marijuana.

State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, attempted to take the
mystery out of it with a bill last year to bring the cannabis network
into the open. Now, Kohl-Welles is working on a new bill.

The governor should find a way to support the senator, who keeps
pushing to bring needed clarity to cities and counties that want to
regulate medical-marijuana "access points" and impose sensible zoning
around them.
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