|Out There Monthly|
The Spokane City Council unanimously agreed on Monday that marijuana should be federally legal to possess by people who have a legitimate medical need for the drug.
State voters passed a medical marijuana law 14 years ago, back in 1998, but the city council is concerned about federal raids continuing in Spokane and elsewhere in Washington and other states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The council approved a nonbinding resolution endorsing a letter that Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee sent to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in November requesting that marijuana be reclassified from being a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, reports Jonathan Brunt at The Spokesman.
Marijuana is currently classified, along with heroin and LSD, as a Schedule I drug, illegal for any purpose. Schedule II drugs, including cocaine and amphetamines, can be prescribed by physicians.
Last year, dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries shut down, either voluntarily or by force, in Spokane County after federal authorities warned that they were operating in violation of federal law.
“We have a lot of citizens who are caught in the legal limbo by this situation,” said Councilman Jon Snyder, who sponsored the resolution. “The reclassification to Schedule II would simply allow medical uses of marijuana to be acknowledged and put the drug in a situation where it could be regulated and researched and used in a way that is more along the desires of the citizens of Washington state.”
Councilman Steve Salvatori said he’s become more supportive of changing the laws to allow medical marijuana after his wife’s sister died from brain cancer last year.
“If you’ve ever seen someone who is suffering and going through the side effects of trying to be treated, there’s a reason why the American Medical Association supports this move,” Salvatori said.