Harris, Moeller sign onto letter supporting federal medical marijuana reform

Republican Paul Harris and Democrat Jim Moeller, both state representatives from Vancouver, agree that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration should listen to Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire’s request to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Harris and Moeller, along with more than 40 other state lawmakers signed a letter to the DEA, saying they are “concerned that qualifying patients with serious medical conditions who could benefit from medical use of cannabis do not have a safe and consistent source of their medicine that has been recommended by a licensed health care professional in our state.”

Although medical marijuana has been legalized in Washington state, Clark County commissioners and a majority of cities in the county have placed a moratorium on collective medical marijuana gardens seen in other parts of the state because the substance is still outlawed by the federal government.

The lawmakers’ letter continued: “The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis.”

Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee have asked the DEA to reclassify marijuana so it can be prescribed by doctors and administered by pharmacists.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an opinion that people “who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substance Act, regardless of state law.”

In the meantime, Clark County employees are studying the legality of medical marijuana gardens and working to develop suitable guidelines.

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