Breaking News: Two Governors Petition Federal Government To Allow For Medical Marijuana

The governors of Rhode Island and Washington have both signed a petition asking the Obama Administration to re-schedule cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II, effectively ending the federal government’s total prohibition on medical patients having lawful and controlled access to organic cannabis products.

“The situation has become untenable for our states and others. The solution lies with the federal government.”

Both Governors Lincoln Chafee and Christine Gregoire of Rhode Island and Washington respectively were, ironically, two state governors who chose to heed to the warnings issued by the federal government in a Department of Justice memo (known as the ‘Cole memo‘) and not move forward with otherwise popular medical cannabis law reforms in their states.
However, no more! These two governors’ action today is a very important turning point in the history of cannabis law reform in America.
Contrastingly, the governors of Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico and the city council of D.C. all largely ignored the federal government and moved forward with their states’ respective medical cannabis programs.
NORML began the entire legal and political debate about ‘medical marijuana’ in 1972 when it launched a 24-year re-scheduling effort, that is still laboring on all these years.
Therefore to finally witness governors so frustrated with the absurdly mis-scheduled cannabis plant as being dangerous, addictive and possessing no medical utility (wrongly grouped with heroin and LSD) that they are reaching out to the president to fix this clear injustice and warping of science is a clear demonstration that the friction between the federal government’s recalcitrance on accepting medical cannabis (or for that matter ending Cannabis Prohibition in total) and state politicians who can no longer justify towing the fed’s ridiculous ban on physician-prescribed cannabis to sick, dying and sense-threatened medical patients is coming to a dramatic conclusion in a government showdown, one that may bode well for the larger Cannabis Prohibition reforms needed, festering just below the surface of the public’s mass acceptance of medical access to cannabis.

101 thoughts

  1. I can see how this may be viewed as somewhat encouraging, I do not feel this goes far enough. It is not enough to baby-step this down from Schedule I to Schedule II, when the most appropriate action would be to remove it from the Schedule entirely and allow the states to regulate it on an equal footing with alcohol. I just can’t help feeling a half measure such as this may ultimately prove a setback to the repeal of prohibition.
    Under Schedule II, while admitting the possibility of having accepted use in medical treatment, it will still have the stigma whereby “Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
    [Editor’s note: Neither NORML (Gettman, ASA, et al) or these two governors are seeking to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act because there is ZERO political support in the federal government and Congress to do so. NORML and company suing the federal government and these governors are simply seeking that the government stop their insanity of insisting that cannabis has no medical values at all–when both the public and science know otherwise.
    If you want cannabis legalized out right, that will not happen through advocates suing the feds to make cannabis de-listed as a scheduled medicinal drug…ending Cannabis Prohibition is more complicated than this, namely having Congress pass an amended CSA sans cannabis.]

  2. NORML: Can you please put together one of those nicely typed letters we can mail our respective state governors urging them to follow the lead taken by Chafee and Gregoire? The Feds need to hear from more governors on this, and the people need to pressure their governors to do so. Thanks!

  3. Now that the real problem has been identified and the roots of prohibition are being seen very deeply in everything, maybe prohibition will be finally ceased as the joke that it has always been. (MAYBE)” To see a problem and do nothing is to be apart of the problem.”

  4. I am very pleased to see there is still interest to promote the health and well being for the sick and dying. I prey that one day that my mother, who is very young and has a severely damaged spine to the point that there is nothing left the doctors can do; will have the ability to throwout all of the harmful cancer pain management medications that do nothing, and use a natural marijuana to aid her pain. As well as millions of people like her. If the smoke is the main concern, opt for a vaporizer that will not harm the lungs through the water. If you believe its harmful… Read the research and history of this wonderful medicine. Also, compare it to the MILLIONS of FDA medications that are used for the same cause and have severe side effects. When treating the sick, the objective is to make them more comfortable, not to cure one issue and cause another. I support the legalization of this medication for those who need it. And…I prey that the ignorance of ill-educated members of our society do not prohibit the availability of marijuana to our friends and family who need it most.

  5. I can’t wait to hear what the DEA says about re-scheduling cannabis.
    President Obama will have something to say about this.

  6. Let the people who needs cannbais you it you been giving it out to 4 people for over 30 years
    What the feds can do things but the wrong

  7. It’s a nice gesture, but only two governors?
    MPP lays out the argument that cannabis is still subject to raids and prosecution by the Feds even after rescheduling.
    Slash so much funding from the various federal departments who are our pains in the ass that cannabis prohibition enforcement becomes a non-priority. That way they’ll be broke, and powerless to continue their prosecutions of the good folks they’ve raided out west and powerless to prevent eastern states from implementing the medical marijuana programs they currently have on hold.
    Since no one and no party wants to bring up cannabis legalization or cuts specifically designed to move cannabis closer to the legalized end of the continuum, the federal sequestration will be to blame. In plain English, no one will be accountable or take responsibility for the cuts that help bring cannabis closer to being legal. With the Feds immobilized, states can take their programs off hold, and more states can jump on the medical marijuana or even outright legalization bandwagon.
    Keep running the economy into the ground until cannabis is legalized.
    Besides, the banks need the cannabis money, so much more of it than they can safely launder under its current illegal status.

  8. No drug should be Schedule I, because if there’s just one person that can be benefited with responsible use, by defending their health just like with physical self-defense, there is enormous value.

  9. So because two governors decide they don’t agree with how the DEA is doing business suddenly the DEA is going to just jump to their beckon call and change their entire policy? I don’t think so. The United States uses the illegal drug money to fund activities that otherwise wouldn’t be funded through Congress. Cutting their “illegal” budget by 50% or more would be disastrous for the Justice Department.
    Face it, unless we participate in justified civil disobedience, and legalize cannabis in every initiative-based State, we will not see cannabis being removed from Schedule I status. Sorry!

  10. There is something inherently wrong about a law ( The Controlled Substances Act ) that requires such a high ranking public official as the Drug Czar, to mislead the citizens. This has led to such ridiculous scenes as the current Drug Czar, Mr. Gil Kerlikowske, standing in San Francisco after fifteen years of medical marijuana in California, and proclaiming that marijuana is dangerous and has no medical value. Does anyone wonder why the Federal Government is considered unreliable when it comes to drug facts? The government’s credibility has been destroyed by it’s inability to tell the truth when it comes to drugs or the success or failure of current drug policy.
    As long as this requirement to mislead the citizens is in place, we will not be able to have the honest discussion needed to for us to move forward on the issues of drugs and drug law. Currently the American Medical Association is calling for marijuana to be rescheduled to allow for it’s use as medicine. Sixteen states and Washington DC have medical marijuana laws and polling nationwide is 82% in favor of medical marijuana. The only thing standing in the way are the unrealistic and untrue pronouncements of the Drug Czar and his fellow prohibitionists.
    Congress should pass an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that requires the Drug Czar to tell the whole truth about drugs and cease this ridiculous charade. Until then the propaganda, misinformation, death and destruction caused by our current drug policy will continue unabated

  11. Holy Smokes. Reponse will be the same old song and dance. Any bets the response will be different? Hardly a chance.
    The Rev.sLeezy
    The Universal Life Church of the Holy Smokes

  12. ron paul at least could end this madness. buddy roemer will be a good pick for the corruption associated with the government in general. FREE TO LEAD.we must stop obama from ruining this country. just my opinion.What am I willing to give for a president who adheres to the constitution > my life if, it will bring sanity back to this great country. vietnam 1970-71

  13. If there’s one thing politicians hate, it’s losing guaranteed votes, which is what state employees tend to be. So by replacing alcohol with marijuana in Washington state liquor stores (which thanks to a Costco sponsored initiative will soon be closing), Gregoire can preserve those jobs, and the votes they represent.
    So thank you Costco, for spurring Gregoire to ask that cannabis be moved one step closer to legal.

  14. As much as I am pleased that my governor has decided to make this gesture, I’m not convinced that her motivation is in our best interest. Dropping down to Schedule Two is the worst of all options.
    By dropping cannabis down from Schedule One, Pres. Obama releases himself of culpability in its future. Cannabis will be available for research and for use as medicine, that’s a good thing. However, the restrictions of Schedule Two preclude any home grow/private caregivers. Only available by prescription. The DEA will step back and the FDA will step forward.
    Only pharmaceutical companies will be able to provide medicine to doctors. Under the guise of safety and effectiveness, no patient will be able to grow their own. So, need cannabis for your illness? The Dr. will prescribe a tincture for you made by GW Pharmaceuticals. If you want to just smoke a joint, you still have to see the ‘guy’.
    We win nothing by this. In fact, I would go so far as say it would be a step back.

  15. Editor:
    If you will not get behind Ron Paul, at least make people aware of what Newt Gingrich would have in store for us if he becomes president. Singapore is his “dream”
    drug enforcement model. Need I say more?

  16. Sadly, Im afraid the petition will be ignored. I recently watched a piece on Obama that found him to be arrogant and above the rest of us. I quote “he does not view himself as a mere mortal.”
    Obviously he has little regard for the people in this country. He’s running the economy into the ground, has no clue about how to fix the job situation, his foreign policy will continue to lead us down a path of destruction, has no leadership skills. To save this country he must be removed from power.
    Get out and vote!

  17. I’m glad to hear there are a couple of governors willing to speak up about rescheduling cannabis. But I believe until we get more leaders to stand up we will see the same bull shit answers from the drug czars and the rest of the administration.

  18. Well… they DIDN’T reach out to the president, did they? I haven’t read it, but I haven’t seen President Obama’s name mentioned anywhere. The Governors know that if they call out Obama on this issue, they’ll lose all kinds of federal boodle.

  19. Exactly, each step brings it a bit closer to the people who are terrorized of breaking the law. How can people decide, if they are permanently war-threatened to lose their freedom by the biggest entity in the world = the US Government?

  20. But, wouldn’t the states laws still stay in place? Meaning even though the FDA would be taking control of it technically, the states laws would say people can grow it with their growers cards, and sell in dispensaries, etc.

  21. Obama needs to be as aggressive as possible with righting the wrongs of Nixon Reagan Bush Clinton Bush even more so since we have been so plagued by people who love the police state.

  22. At present I see two real roadblocks to reformers: one is the usual political corruption and lies, the love of enforcement over justice by our unelected “Agencies” etc etc, the standard stuff we’re all used to.
    The other is the cracks sprouting up in pro-marijuana advocates ourselves. Look at Prop 19- we defeated us. That’s a plan of their adversaries- to divide us. They’re trying something similar in Washington.
    To commenter #1 about this being a babystep- ANY progress is progress
    Please let’s stop these ideas that some progress doesn’t go far enough/is the wrong progress
    AND
    let’s stop the “victory in defeat” mentality when we lose.
    2012 will be a big year for us. Personally I think Colorado is the best chance for full legalization, but I fully expect Norml to focus most of its attention on California 1st, then Washington 2nd

  23. This is new, guys we got state officials talking to the feds. That’s a real step towards progress. Who better than the states to agree so they fed will change the law?

  24. I still support norml…but only because they help keep the legalization movement going. These governors have the right mindset, but they still need to wake up to the fact that cannabis is the safest substance for human consumption. Regardless I don’t think this will change Obama’s mind on cannabis. He does not have our interests in mind..Every time I think of the injustice the government has done over the years, I always think of the speech on secret societies by John Kennedy…and then I think about how he was assassinated after the fact. Lets face it people…we have not been in control for some time. The only way to get it back is to fight for it…but that’s not gonna happen until the majority of the people are at their wits end and decide its time to risk there lives to save the country.

  25. Always remember the power of assumption and awareness. Progress is being made. Smoke it like it’s legal, and it will be. Remember as you smoke that you are doing no wrongs whatsoever, and that the laws will be fixed to align with the truth.

  26. The governor of Vermont just joined the club as well.. hopefully 2/3’s or more will join for the call of rescheduling..

  27. Also, if Obama wants to pull of a win next year he needs to quit pissing on the pro-marijuana people.. there needs to be a stronger message from Norml and other advocate groups that he may lose their support entirely…

  28. The governors’ petition is an important turning point. And how did we get there? VOTER INITIATIVES. It was the citizens of those states voting for medical marijuana that forced these public officials to take a stand. And the stand they took is a excellent one – read the full petition: http://www.governor.wa.gov/priorities/healthcare/petition/combined_document.pdf
    It’s long past time for NORML to take the next step of fully supporting voter initiatives that end marijuana prohibition on the state level. Not split-the-baby measures decriminalizing two ounces while adding stoned-driving penalties, but true legalization/regulation models. To which NORML always says, “There’s zero support”, “It’s not the right time politically”, “We risk putting the movement back if we reach too far”. Reaching too far with Prop 215 in 1996 was what got us to this point, not waiting until the the political winds were most favorable. NORML needs to throw their support behind full legalization/regulation initiatives for the 2012 election. Waiting for the DEA to suddenly have an epiphany and decide to reschedule is a fantasy. Forcing them to do so by will of the states and the people can be a reality.
    [Editor’s note: NORML has supported every and all qualifying cannabis legalization initiatives since 1970…such is a given.]

  29. @stopthelies,, Obama has lost support many many many months ago.
    I wrote letters to the Obama-dickhead and the democant party to inform them that I am campaigning for all candidates that will end Prohibition. period.

  30. If they really want to cut health care cost, smoke a doobie. Without it health care cost will keep rising! Check it.

  31. JUST TELL THE TRUTH
    HOW MANY PEOPLE WANT A GOVT THAT LIE’S TO YOU?
    5,OOO YEARS OF HISTORY SAYS IT DOES
    9 OTHER COUNTRYS AROUND THE WORLD (3 OF THEM ARE OUR GREATEST ALLIES) SAYS IT DOES
    16 STATES + THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SAYS IT DOES
    HECK SOME TEN YEARS AGO A DEA ADMIN LAW JUDGE AFTER HEARING ALL THE FACTS, SAID CANNABIS DOES HAVE MEDICAL VALUE
    WTF PEOPLE WE ARE PAYING $ TO ENFORCE A LAW BASED ON A LIE

  32. gary johnson,former gov. new mexico running for president has told the people his all for it!!! look at MIRANOL MEDICINE OF OUR PAST(CULTURE MEDICINE)

  33. I’m in Texas, so I know my Govenor is’nt going to sign up. oops
    Maybe MO’S Govenor will sign up? They are headed that way in 2012 anyway. I think the key to it is to get Ron Paul in office. They will fight him too but at least he would attempt to make a difference/change. As for all the other policies, he couldn’t do any worse than nobamma. He will still have the same gun grabbing, right stealing pricks to deal with.
    I think every little step helps, but I want be happy until I can walk out in my backyard and pick my own.
    Legalize it NOW!

  34. This is a very encouraging story. The more the absurdity of this whole mess is presented to the public the closer we are to ending prohibition. Most people have lost trust in the government at this time and they feel pretty strongly about how the big corporations are in bed with it. These include the Pharmaceauticals, big oil, big tobacco and alcohol industries who stand to lose a lot if the hemp plant becomes free in the USA. Let the battle begin. I leave you with this classic:

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