Opinion

Feds’ medical marijuana prohibition should end

There’s an initiative that may go before voters next year that would legalize, regulate and tax the sale of mari-juana, and not just for doctor-authorized medicinal use.

I-502, even if it collects enough signatures to get on the 2012 state ballot, seems like a bridge too far, at least for now.

But Gov. Chris Gregoire’s petition to the Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t. Her request to have marijuana reclassified as a Schedule 2 drug seems like a sensible step in the right direction for states such as Washington to be able to effectively implement medical marijuana laws passed by voters.

If it’s the will of the compassionate people of this state — and that 1998 election shows it is — to allow marijuana use to relieve the intractable pain of those suffering from cancer and other afflictions, then the federal government should not thwart that will.

As the governor noted in announcing her petition to the DEA, “an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate.”

So do plenty of doctors, who could prescribe marijuana for patients who would benefit from it, if it is reclassified as a drug that has an accepted medical use.

Patients could get their prescriptions filled by a pharmacist at a drug store, just like any other medication, but only “if the federal government stops classifying marijuana as unsuitable for medical treatment,” the governor states.

Such a reclassification would also help cities such as Port Orchard that face a quandary in trying to develop suitable local zoning regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens.

Who knows if Gregoire’s petition will change any minds at DEA.

But it’s time for the feds to get out of the way of states whose citizens want to see their government set up a legal, properly controlled system for providing medical marijuana.

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