Posts Tagged ‘lawmakers’

42 state lawmakers ask DEA to reclassify marijuana

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – More than three dozen Washington state lawmakers sent a letter to the federal government on Monday, asking for marijuana to be reclassified as a drug that can be prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacists.

Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug would allow it to be prescribed by doctors and handled by pharmacists. Marijuana is currently classified a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it’s not accepted for medical treatment and can’t be prescribed, administered or dispensed.

In the letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the lawmakers said they supported Gov. Chris Gregoire’s previous request on the issue. Seven Republican lawmakers were among the 42 in both the House and the Senate who signed the letter.

In addition to the letter, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, introduced Senate Joint Memorial 8017 making the same request to reclassify medical marijuana. The joint memorial was scheduled for a hearing in the Health & Long Term Care Committee on Thursday.

Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee filed the petition with the DEA last November. Washington and Rhode Island are two of 16 states and the District of Columbia that have laws allowing the medical use of marijuana.

Washington voters approved a medical marijuana law in 1998 that gives doctors the right to recommend – but not prescribe – marijuana for people suffering from cancer and other conditions that cause “intractable pain.”

Last year, Gregoire vetoed most of a bill that made major reforms to the state’s medical marijuana law, saying state workers could be prosecuted under federal law the way the measure was written.

A separate bill this year is attempting to provide medical marijuana patients with easier access to the drug. The new proposal would allow local governments to regulate nonprofit patient cooperatives, which could grow up to 99 plants.

Under the latest proposal, nonprofit patient cooperatives would be prohibited in counties with fewer than 200,000 residents – mostly rural areas – unless local jurisdictions enact ordinances allowing them. The cooperatives would be allowed in counties with a population of more than 200,000 unless local jurisdictions opt out through an ordinance.

The plan would create a voluntary registry for patients.


Lawmakers Close To Approving Pot Dispensary Bill

potdispensaryState lawmakers are closing in on a final bill to regulate Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill is a major piece of legislation and lawmakers hope to pass it before the session ends.

When the debate over how to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries began there were so many issues, for some lawmakers it was like grabbing smoke. Their goal is to legally balance the issues of legitimate caregivers and patients with concerns from law enforcement that the dispensary business has grown out of control.

Now lawmakers have three days left to pass a bill and send it on to Gov. Bill Ritter.

Sen. Chris Romer believes his medical marijuana bill lawmakers are poised to pass will put about half of the state’s 600 existing dispensaries out of business.

“For two reasons, one, either they have a felony conviction, or two, they can’t prove where their investment or cash came from,” Romer said.

The bill also requires existing dispensaries to grow 70 percent of their supply so law enforcement knows where the drug is coming from. Medical marijuana advocates are not happy about that part of the bill.

“There are a lot of strains out there and a lot of them provide different relief for different conditions, and if you have essentially one dispensary growing all its own medicine, it’s really not going to provide the variety patients need,” Brian Vicente with Sensible Colorado said.

The state Senate also voted to keep the locations of pot-growing operations off-limits to the public to help protect grow operations from being burglarized. Only law enforcement would have access to that information.

“I think it’s a common-sense move to not have that be a public document, you know marijuana is a valuable commodity and I don’t think it’s smart to put it out there for any potential thieves to know about,” Vicente said.

But Attorney General John Suthers says people have a right to know if there’s a pot-growing operation in their neighborhood. Romer says it won’t be a problem.

“The issue is that your city council has the right to insure it’s never grown for commercial purposes in residential or commercial areas. If I were on a city council or if I were mayor the only place in my town you’d be able to grow would be in industrial warehouses, so that’s the way to control this, Romer said.

The House will take up the remaining issues when it reconsiders the Senate bill later this week. Romer believes they’ll end up with overdue regulations on a business few envisioned when voters approved medical marijuana 10 years ago.

“I think the House will concur with this bill and I think the governor will then sign it,” he said.

Medical marijuana advocates say if lawmakers can’t craft a bill that protects their interests they would consider going to the ballot to legalize marijuana altogether. The state of California has such a proposal on its ballot this fall.

[Written by Terry Jessup from Source]

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