public policy

Chafee, Wash. governor petition for decriminalization of medical marijuana

BLOOMBERG NEWS FILE PHOTO MATTHEW STAVER
CANISTERS of medical marijuana and a price list for the marijuana products is seen inside Highland Health medical dispensary and wellness center in Denver, Colo.
Posted 11/30/11

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee has asked the federal government to decriminalize marijuana for medical use nationwide, he announced Wednesday.

In a petition filed along with Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire, Chafee asked the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug, which has no medical use and cannot be prescribed for any reason, to a Schedule 2 drug which could be prescribed for medical use with controls, Chafee said in a statement.

“Americans’ attitudes toward medically prescribed marijuana are changing, and medical organizations throughout the country – including the Rhode Island Medical Society and the American Medical Association – have come to recognize the potential benefits of marijuana for medical use,” Chafee said in the statement. “Patients across Rhode Island and across the United States, many of whom are in tremendous pain, stand to experience some relief. Gov. Gregoire and I are taking this step to urge the federal government to consider allowing the safe, reliable regulated use of marijuana for patients who are suffering.”

Chafee’s petition comes after he blocked in September the licensing of medical marijuana compassion centers, which had been authorized by the General Assembly, because the federal government said they broke U.S. law and threatened to prosecute them.

Chafee’s petition includes a “substantive science-based report” on medical marijuana use that includes recommendations on how it can be distributed in a controlled and clinically effective manner.

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