42 Members of WA Legislature Ask DEA To Reschedule Marijuana


Mike Purdy’s Public Contracting Blog
The Washington State Capitol building in Olympia

​History was made on Wednesday as 42 members of the Washington Legislature petitioned the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule marijuana from its current Schedule I status to a less restrictive classification to allow for its medical use.

“I don’t think a state legislature has done this before,” Seattle-based activist Philip Dawdy told Toke of the Town Thursday evening.

Among the lawmakers signing the letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was Rep. Timm Ormsby, brother of federal prosecutor Michael Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. Ormsby, along with Western Washington U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, last year oversaw a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

The Weed Blog
Govs. Chris Gregoire (WA) and Lincoln Chafee (RI) were the first two to call for federal reclassification of marijuana to Schedule II

​The letter follows a petition already sent by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee to the DEA requesting marijuana’s reclassification to Schedule II.
“We write in support of the petition that Governor Chafee and Governor Gregoire recently submitted to initiate rulemaking proceedings for the reclassification of medical cannabis (also known as marijuana) from Schedule I to Schedule II of the CSA [Controlled Substances Act]”, the letter begins.
“We are also concerned that qualifying patients with serious medical conditions who could benefit from medical use of cannabis do not have a safe and consistent source of their medicine that has been recommended by a licensed health care professional in our state,” the legislators wrote. “The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis.
“More to the point, it is clear that the long-standing classification of medical use of cannabis in the United States as an illegal Schedule I substance is fundamentally flawed and should be changed,” the lawmakers wrote. “The federal government could quickly solve the issue if it were to reclassify cannabis for medical use from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug so that it can be prescribed, which we believe the petition provides substantiated peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support.

Progressive Voters Guide
Washington State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles has led the fight for safe access to medical marijuana in the Evergreen State

​”The solution lies ultimately with the federal government,” the letter reads. “We urge the DEA to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reclassify medical cannabis as a Schedule II drug so qualifying patients that follow state law may obtain the medication they need through the traditional and safe method of physician prescribing and pharmacy dispensing.”
The signature of state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles leads of the signature section of the letter, as rightly it should, given all the incredibly hard work she’s put in for the medical marijuana community in Washington state.
But if that last part serves to increase your paranoia about a possible Big Pharma takeover of the cottage medical marijuana industry, yeah… me, too. So the letter, as historic and groundbreaking as it is, is probably also a double-edged sword when it comes to safe access for patients.
After all, what is safe access worth if all you’re allowed to access is single-strain, undifferentiated, mass-produced extracts like Sativex, which GW Pharmaceutical and its Big Pharma brethren seem determined to ram (OK, spray) down the throats of medical marijuana patients in lieu of providing safe access to the organic herbal medicine that works best?

Washington State Legislature