By Steve Elliott of Toke of the Town
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, under political fire for blocking three medical marijuana dispensaries authorized back in 2009 and selected in 2011, says the real problem is the inconsistent policy of the President he endorsed in 2008.
The governor has faced protests and legal threats from medical marijuana patients and advocates since suspending Rhode Island’s dispensary program in May 2011.
Chafee offered his take on the crackdown in a Rolling Stone article published online last week reporting on “a shocking about-face” by the Obama Administration, which in 2009 seemed to give the green light to states on medical marijuana, but last year launched a widespread crackdown involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Justice, the Burau of Alcohol, Tobbaco and Firearms (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Attorneys nationwide.
According to WPRI, “The sharpest and most surprising rebuke to the administration has come from centrist governors who are fed up with the war on medicinal pot.”
In November, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, along with Chafee, issued a petition to the DEA, asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug (which would put it on par with cocaine and meth — yes, your federal government currently considers both of those substances as less dangerous than cannabis.).
Schedule II classification would acknowledge marijuana’s medicinal value, while retaining the attitude that it has “high potential for abuse.”
“It’s time to show compassion, and it’s time to show common sense,” Gregoire said. “We call on the federal government to end the confusion and the unsafe burden on patients.”
While such a petition from two sitting governors is historic and unprecedented, it’s unlikely to affect federal policy. Last June — after a nine-year delay — the federal government denied a similar petition.
A bureaucrat at the Department of Health and Human Services offered no hope for the reclassification of cannabis, repeating the tired old Bush-era line that there is “no accepted medical use for marijuana in the United States.”
Yeah, it’s almost as if that “hope and change” thing never happened!
The DEA now claims it’s “reviewing” the petition from Chafee and Gregoire, though it’s far from clear if, when, and how the hidebound agency — seemingly locked into a 20th Century mindset about marijuana — will respond.
Article From Toke of the Town and republished with special permission.