Gov. Chris Gregoire recently vetoed legislation to create licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state.
The governor opted to reject the legislation because she feared - despite good intentions of state lawmakers - that overzealous federal officials would seek to prosecute licensed growers and state regulators.
The U.S. Justice Department has threatened legal action against Washington and other states with voter-approved medical marijuana laws. Officials said federal attorneys would consider civil or criminal penalties for those involved with and who sanction large-scale marijuana operations, even if they are acceptable under state law.
The federal government is out of touch with reality and the will of the people.
Washington and a dozen other states, including Oregon, have voter-approved laws that allow marijuana to be used as medicine to treat people suffering with cancer, glaucoma and other serious conditions.
Unfortunately, the threat of federal prosecution has hampered efforts to establish a regulated, orderly way to distribute medical marijuana with a doctor's prescription.
Hopefully that will soon change.
Gregoire, fresh from the veto of licensing medical marijuana dispensaries, said she wants to work with other governors to push for a change in federal law to reclassify medical marijuana as a Schedule 2 substance, putting it on par with addictive but accepted drugs such as morphine or oxycodone.
This is the approach we have been advocating for years. Others, too, have advocated for this common-sense approach
Yet, politicians - of both political parties - continue to cloud the debate by insisting that allowing a street drug such as marijuana to be used as medicine was in someway comprising the war on drugs.
Oxycodone is also used as a street drug but it can be purchased from a pharmacy with a prescription. How is medical marijuana any different?
This nonsense has gone on long enough. Federal law needs to be changed to allow marijuana to be regulated like any other medication.
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