The governors of Washington state and Rhode Island are petitioning the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses. Washington's Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire and Independent Gov. Lincoln Chafee want pot switched from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II, which would allow it to be prescribed or dispensed under regulations. They believe it's the only way to solve the contradiction between states where medical marijuana is legal and the federal government, which outlaws the drug. "State and local governments cannot adopt a regulatory framework to ensure a safe supply for—and limited to—legitimate medical use without putting their employees at risk of violating federal law," the governors wrote. "The situation has become untenable."
The state-fed Catch 22 is causing some cities, including Los Angeles, to consider shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries entirely because they fear they will run afoul of federal law if they try to regulate them, reports the Los Angeles Times. Regulation would be possible with a change in classification. "An ever-growing number of doctors now tell thousands of suffering patients they may find relief from the unique medicinal qualities of cannabis," said Gregoire, who heads the National Governors Association. "There is simply no question that pharmacists could safely and reliably dispense cannabis to patients." There was no immediate response from the DEA. (Read more Lincoln Chafee stories.)