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Nov-30-2011 20:30printcomments

Governors Gregoire and Chafee file Petition to Reclassify Marijuana on Federal Level

Currently, the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, equal with heroin.
Nature at it's best- cannabis and hummingbirds
Photo by Doobieduck

(OLYMPIA, Wash.) - Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she filed a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug, which will allow its use for treatment – prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacists. Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I-RI) also signed the petition.

The petition will require the Federal Drug Administration to conduct a new scientific review and analysis of recent advances in Cannabis research since the last time the FDA reviewed the matter in 2006.

“Poll after poll shows an overwhelming majority of Americans now see medical marijuana as legitimate,” Gregoire said.

“Sixty percent of voters in our state said yes on a 1998 ballot measure. An ever-growing number of doctors now tell thousands of suffering patients they may find relief from the unique medicinal qualities of cannabis. There is simply no question that pharmacists could safely and reliably dispense cannabis to patients -- just as they do for other controlled and more problematic drugs.”

“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,” Governor Chafee said. “Patients across Rhode Island and across the United States, many of whom are in tremendous pain, stand to experience some relief. Governor 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.”

Currently, the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. According to the DEA, drugs listed in schedule I have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and, therefore, may not be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use. In contrast, drugs listed in schedules II-V have some accepted medical use and may be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use, with controls.

“Sadly, patients must find their way along unfamiliar, uncertain paths to get what their doctors tell them would help – medical cannabis to relieve their suffering,” Gregoire said. “People weak and sick with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases and conditions suddenly feel like -- or in fact become – law breakers. In the year 2011, why can’t medical cannabis be prescribed by a physician and filled at the drug store just like any other medication? The answer is surprisingly simple. It can. But only if the federal government stops classifying marijuana as unsuitable for medical treatment.”

Gregoire added that two years ago, the American Medical Association reversed its position and now supports investigation and clinical research of cannabis for medicinal use. And The American College of Physicians recently expressed similar support. Both the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington State Pharmacy support reclassification, as do the Rhode Island Medical Society and other state medical associations.

The petition includes a substantive science-based report that has been peer reviewed and cites more than 700 independent references, many of which are new science since 2006. It details non-smoking methods, and describes how recent scientific developments like affordable DNA analysis supports the pharmacy model. With modern DNA analysis, it is easy to determine the plant’s beneficial compound – and with current technology readily available today, a compounding pharmacist could easily and inexpensively quantify the levels of cannabinoids, and then use the appropriate cannabis blend to create a customized medication for an individual patient.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, any interested party is allowed to petition to add, delete or change the schedule of a drug or other substance. When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug.

Source: Press Release

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Anonymous December 1, 2011 12:25 pm (Pacific time)

The federal government will not stop...They make too much money off selling the drugs. The bankers laundering drug money, the heroin coming in from afghanistan, the private for profit prisons...Too much power and money involved. The only thing that will change is if some type of spiritual awakening type thing happens.

malcolm kyle December 1, 2011 6:28 am (Pacific time)

OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 1): Federal researchers implanted several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung cancers, in mice, then treated them with cannabinoids (unique, active components found in marijuana). THC and other cannabinoids shrank tumors and increased the mice's lifespans. Munson, AE et al. Antineoplastic Activity of Cannabinoids. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Sept. 1975. p. 597-602. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER, (PART 2): In a 1994 study the government tried to suppress, federal researchers gave mice and rats massive doses of THC, looking for cancers or other signs of toxicity. The rodents given THC lived longer and had fewer cancers, "in a dose-dependent manner" (i.e. the more THC they got, the fewer tumors). NTP Technical Report On The Toxicology And Carcinogenesis Studies Of 1-Trans- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, CAS No. 1972-08-3, In F344/N Rats And B6C3F Mice, Gavage Studies. See also, "Medical Marijuana: Unpublished Federal Study Found THC-Treated Rats Lived Longer, Had Less Cancer," AIDS Treatment News no. 263, Jan. 17, 1997. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 3): Researchers at the Kaiser-Permanente HMO, funded by NIDA, followed 65,000 patients for nearly a decade, comparing cancer rates among non-smokers, tobacco smokers, and marijuana smokers. Tobacco smokers had massively higher rates of lung cancer and other cancers. Marijuana smokers who didn't also use tobacco had no increase in risk of tobacco-related cancers or of cancer risk overall. In fact their rates of lung and most other cancers were slightly lower than non-smokers, though the difference did not reach statistical significance. Sidney, S. et al. Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence (California, United States). Cancer Causes and Control. Vol. 8. Sept. 1997, p. 722-728. OOPS, MARIJUANA MAY PREVENT CANCER (PART 4): Donald Tashkin, a UCLA researcher whose work is funded by NIDA, did a case-control study comparing 1,200 patients with lung, head and neck cancers to a matched group with no cancer. Even the heaviest marijuana smokers had no increased risk of cancer, and had somewhat lower cancer risk than non-smokers (tobacco smokers had a 20-fold increased Lung Cancer risk). Tashkin D. Marijuana Use and Lung Cancer: Results of a Case-Control Study. American Thoracic Society International Conference. May 23, 2006.

Eve Lentz November 30, 2011 11:57 pm (Pacific time)

I am so amazed that this petition was filed, and I hope it will, somehow, influence other Governor's to follow suit! Some of the references, in the petition, are from Dr. Gregory T.Carter (my doctor) and Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal (good friend), who are both authors of many studies and books about Cannabis used for pain management and for treatment of many diseases and conditions! I applaud both Governor's, for thair bravery and compassion and for referencing over 700 medical studies, proving that Cannabis IS a worthy medicine! Thanks, Bonnie, for another great article and for the awesome picture of the Hummingbird enjoying the nectar of the kind bud!

Editor: Thanks Eve, will pass that along to Bonnie.

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