Six months after derailing a very well-crafted medical marijuana bill, Governor Gregoire joins Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island to ask the DEA to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug. Leaving aside the argument that marijuana probably shouldn’t be a Schedule II drug either (the same as cocaine and certain forms of methamphetamine), this is clearly the most progressive position on marijuana we’ve seen from the Governor. But I also agree with the Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann here:
“The governors’ call for rescheduling marijuana so that it can be prescribed for medical purposes is an important step forward in challenging the federal government’s intransigence in this area,” said Nadelmann. “But their call should not serve as an excuse for these two governors to fail to move forward on responsible regulation of medical marijuana in their own states. Governors in states ranging from New Jersey and Vermont to Colorado and New Mexico have not allowed the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana to prevent them from approving and implementing statewide regulation of medical marijuana. Govs. Gregoire and Chafee should do likewise.”
As the federal pressure on medical marijuana grew over the summer, Gregoire and Chafee were the two governors who balked and scrapped sensible regulations supported by the people of their state and passed by the legislature. This happened even as both Republican Chris Christie (NJ) and Democrat Peter Shumlin (VT) moved forward with their states’ programs despite the threats. It’s good to see Gregoire have the courage to stand up to the DEA (many still won’t), but there’s certainly more she can and should do.