Medical Marijuana Law

It’s Legal To Sell Marijuana In Washington. But Try Telling That To A Bank.

By | Colorado Medical Marijuana Law, General Medical Marijuana Information, Medical Marijuana Law | No Comments

by Chana Joffe-Walt

November 16, 2012 4:00 AM

David McNew/Getty Images

Voters in Washington and Colorado just approved measures legalizing marijuana for recreational use. But businesses that want to sell marijuana in those states will face a problem: No bank wants to do business with them.

I called several banks in Washington. I called a local credit union, a tiny bank in the San Juan islands. Everybody said basically the same thing. Even if selling marijuana is legal under state law, it’s still illegal under federal law. And banks and credit unions worry that this could get them in trouble.

So people who want to go into the marijuana business — who want to legally grow, distribute, sell marijuana in the state — are going to have to operate, basically, like drug dealers. They’re going to have to run a cash business.

John Davis has been through the problem that future marijuana businesses are going to have. He sells medical marijuana in Seattle (medical marijuana has been legal Washington). And he had a really hard time finding a bank willing to work with him, so for a while he did business in cash.

Payroll was a mess. It’s impossible to order supplies — baggies, lights, display cases — without a credit card. PayPal works for some things, but not for others.

“How do you pay your taxes?” Davis says. “You can’t go into the Department of Revenue and give them a wad of cash.”

Davis learned a bunch of tricks for operating an all cash business, and even teaches a course called “canibusiness.”

In the end, Davis found a work-around that may be he best option for other people who want to get into the industry: Be vague with the bank. Don’t tell them exactly what line of work you’re in.

Davis says he doesn’t feel great about toying with the truth. But, he says, he has a legitimate business, and he needs a bank.

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Quantum 9 : Marijuana Point of Sale Software

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Quantum 9 helps cultivation owners determine a optimized cultivation feeding and watering schedule to maximize the amount of medicinal marijuana harvested per plant. Their expert medical marijuana consulting team will help cultivators maximize profits by determining the best equipment and nutrient mixtures to  produce large quantities of medicine.

Quantum 9: Medical Marijuana Technology

Visit to set up a free demo or e-mail

Connecticut Senate passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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Reuters 5/5/2012 11:16:26 AM ET By Mary Ellen Godin

HARTFORD, Connecticut (Reuters) – The Connecticut Senate passed a bill on Saturday legalizing marijuana use for medical purposes with tight restrictions aimed at avoiding problems that have plagued some of the 16 other states where pot is now legal.

After nearly 10 hours of debate, the Senate voted 21-13 in favor of the measure, which already cleared the House.

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy was expected to sign the bill. Once he does, Connecticut will join 16 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing use of marijuana to treat sick patients.

Connecticut’s legislation calls for tight regulation of the plant, a move advocates say is aimed at avoiding problems that have plagued some of the other states, include disagreements with the federal government.

Under the bill, patients and their caregivers must register with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, their doctors must certify there is a medical need for marijuana to be dispensed, including such debilitating conditions as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy. And, medical marijuana would be dispensed only by pharmacists with a special license.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)

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Economists say U.S. would save billions if pot was legal

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MSN Now Wednesday, April 18, 10:45 am :

Where there’s pot, there’s gold. So conclude more than 300 economists who say that the government — if it got out of the business of enforcing marijuana laws — could save a whopping $7.7 billion annually. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron also figures there’s another $6 billion to be mined each year by taxing the drug at rates similar to booze and tobacco. The economists, who have signed a petition, don’t exactly go as far as Miron in suggesting pot be legalized but maintain that it’s high time, so to speak, for an “open and honest debate.”

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Lawmakers In 5 States Tell Feds To Back Off Medical Marijuana

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Posted: 04/ 2/2012 4:26 pm by

WASHINGTON — Elected lawmakers in five states have a message for the federal government: Don’t interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

In an open letter to the federal government, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle called on the government to stop using scarce law enforcement resources on taking pot away from medical marijuana patients.

“States with medical marijuana laws have chosen to embrace an approach that is based on science, reason, and compassion. We are lawmakers from these states,” the lawmakers explained in their letter.

“Our state medical marijuana laws differ from one another in their details, such as which patients qualify for medical use; how much marijuana patients may possess; whether patients and caregivers may grow marijuana; and whether regulated entities may grow and sell marijuana to patients. Each of our laws, however, is motivated by a desire to protect seriously ill patients from criminal penalties under state law.”

The letter — signed by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-Calif.), Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Wash.), Rep. Antonio Maestas (D-N.M.), Sen. Cisco McSorley (D-N.M.), Assemblyman Chris Norby (R-Calif.), Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R-Maine) and Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Colo.) — comes directly on the heels of a federal raid in the heart of California’s pot legalization movement: medical marijuana training school Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland, where U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials on Monday blocked off doors with yellow tape and carried off trash bags full of unknown substances to a nearby van. An IRS spokeswoman could not comment on the raid except to say the agents had a federal search warrant.

The lawmakers called on President Obama to live up to his campaign promise to leave the regulation of medical marijuana to the states, adding raids would only “force patients underground” into the illegal drug market.

The president as a candidate promised to maintain a hands-off approach toward pot clinics that adhere to state law. At a 2007 town hall meeting in Manchester, N.H., Obama said raiding patients who use marijuana for medicinal purposes “makes no sense.” At another town hall in Nashua, N.H., he said the Justice Department’s prosecution of medical marijuana users was “not a good use of our resources.” Yet the number of Justice Department raids on marijuana dispensaries has continued to rise.

Read the full letter here:

Over the last two decades, 16 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to depart from federal policy and chart their own course on the issue of medical marijuana, as states are entitlir doctors’ medical advice or risking arrest and prosecution. They have stopped using their scarce law enforcement resources to punish patients and those who care for them and have instead spent considerable resources and time crafting programs that will provide patients with safe and regulated access to medical marijuana.States with medical marijuana laws have chosen to embrace an approach that is based on science, reason, and compassion. We are lawmakers from these states.

Our state medical marijuana laws differ from one another in their details, such as which patients qualify for medical use; how much marijuana patients may possess; whether patients and caregivers may grow marijuana; and whether regulated entities may grow and sell marijuana to patients. Each of our laws, however, is motivated by a desire to protect seriously ill patients from criminal penalties under state law; to provide a safe and reliable source of medical marijuana; and to balance and protect the needs of local communities and other residents in the state. The laws were drafted with considered thoughtfulness and care, and are thoroughly consistent with the American tradition of using the states as laboratories for public policy innovation and experimentation.

Unfortunately, these laws face a mounting level of federal hostility and confusing mixed messages from the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice, and the various United States Attorneys. In 2008, then candidate Obama stated that as President, he would not use the federal government to circumvent state laws on the issue of medical marijuana. This promise was followed up in 2009 by President Obama with a Department of Justice memo from former Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden stating that federal resources should not generally be focused “on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” This provided welcome guidance for state legislators and administrators and encouraged us to move forward with drafting and passing responsible regulatory legislation.

Nonetheless, the United States Attorneys in several states with medical marijuana laws have chosen a different course. They have explicitly threatened that federal investigative and prosecutorial resources “will continue to be directed” towards the manufacture and distribution of medical marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law. These threats have generally been timed to influence pending legislation or encourage the abandonment of state and local regulatory programs. They contradict President Obama’s campaign promise and policy his first year in office and serve to push medical marijuana activity back into the illicit market.

Most disturbing is that a few United States Attorneys warn that state employees who implement the laws and regulations of our states are not immune from criminal prosecution under the federal Controlled Substances Act. They do so notwithstanding the fact that no provision exists within the Controlled Substances Act that makes it a crime for a state employee to enforce regulations that help a state define conduct that is legal under its own state laws.

Hundreds of state and municipal employees are currently involved in the licensing and regulation of medical marijuana producers and providers in New Mexico, Colorado, Maine, and California, and have been for years. The federal government has never threatened, much less prosecuted, any of these employees. Indeed, the federal government has not, to our knowledge, prosecuted state employees for performing their ministerial duties under state law in modern history. It defies logic and precedent that the federal government would start prosecuting state employees now.

Recognizing the lack of any real harm to state employees, a number of states have moved forward. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie drew on his own experience as a former United States Attorney in deciding that New Jersey state workers were not realistically at risk of federal prosecution in his decision to move forward implementing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. Rhode Island, Vermont, Arizona, and the District of Columbia are also in the process of implementing their state laws.

Nonetheless, the suggestion that state employees are at risk is have a destructive and chilling impact. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed legislation to regulate medical marijuana in her state and Delaware Governor Jack Markell suspended implementation of his state’s regulatory program after receiving warnings from the United States Attorneys in their states about state employees. Additionally, a number of localities in California ended or suspended regulatory programs after receiving similar threats to their workers.

We, the undersigned state legislators, call on state and local officials to not be intimidated by these empty federal threats. Our state medical marijuana programs should be implemented and move forward. Our work, and the will of our voters, should see the light of day.

We call on the federal government not to interfere with our ability to control and regulate how medical marijuana is grown and distributed. Let us seek clarity rather than chaos. Don’t force patients underground, to fuel the illegal drug market.

And finally, we call on President Obama to recommit to the principles and policy on which he campaigned and asserted his first year in office. Please respect our state laws. And don’t use our employees as pawns in your zealous and misguided war on medical marijuana.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-CA)

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-WA)

Representative Antonio Maestas (D-NM)

Senator Cisco McSorley (D-NM)

Assemblymember Chris Norby (R-CA)

Representative Deborah Sanderson (R-ME)

Senator Pat Steadman (D-CO)

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Colorado Poised to Regulate Marijuana for Adult Use While Feds Cling to Prohibition

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Posted: 02/27/2012 7:34 pm

by Art Way

Today the Colorado Secretary of State announced that a marijuana legalization initiative has qualified for the 2012 ballot, ensuring voters will have a chance to make history this November by ending marijuana prohibition in the state. Proponents of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol are emboldened by recent polls indicating that a slight majority of Colorado voters support the legal regulation of marijuana for adult use.

The campaign initially fell 2,400 valid signatures short, triggering a 15-day “cure period” allowed under state law to gather the additional signatures needed to qualify. The campaign kicked into high gear and obtained another 14,000 total signatures, surpassing their own goal of 9,000. Moreover, the volunteer efforts during the cure period netted more signatures than the paid effort — a good sign of strong grassroots support in the state.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol — now known as Amendment 64 – would eliminate criminal penalties statewide for adults who possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It also encourages the Department of Revenue or local jurisdictions to devise a system of regulation and taxation for the production, distribution and retail sale of marijuana to adults.

Nationally, public support for making marijuana legal has shifted dramatically in the last two decades, especially in the last few years. For the first time, a recent Gallup poll has found that 50 percent of Americans support making marijuana legal, with only 46 percent opposed. Majorities of men, 18 to 29-year-olds, 30 to 49-year-olds, liberals, moderates, Independents, Democrats, and voters in Western, Midwestern and Eastern states now support legalizing marijuana.

Yet, over the past year, the federal government has relentlessly attacked the implementation of medical marijuana regulatory systems in many of the 16 states that allow for the medical use of marijuana. In fact, on this very day, as the Secretary of State announced the qualification of the non-medical initiative, 23 medical marijuana dispensary owners were forced to shut their doors.

The specifics of Amendment 64 have been designed with this reality in mind. It is not a mandate to implement a legal regulatory approach in every Colorado jurisdiction, but it does open the door for the Department of Revenue to do so. If voters decide to legalize marijuana this November, lessons learned from regulating the medical marijuana industry will provide valuable insights. The Colorado Department of Revenue will know better than any agency in the country how to implement a legal regulatory framework that is as fed-proof as possible.

The amendment is a moderate approach to marijuana legalization, as it places limits on possession and does not allow for public use. It is also important to note that the proposal does not impact current traffic and workplace safety laws. But by simply allowing adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, the proposed law will compel law enforcement and Colorado’s judiciary system to redirect their resources to combat serious crime. This is the essence of legalization.

Amendment 64 puts forth the question of whether this widely-used commodity can be regulated in ways that enhance public safety, public health and the state’s bottom line. It begs whether we should continue to spend upwards of $80 million as a state to prohibit a substance that can bring in up to $40 million annually — a gross savings of $120 million. Ultimately, it drives home the point that prohibition is more harmful than the drug itself.

Prohibitionists often cite the “gateway theory” — yet the science simply does not support it. To say that teenage marijuana use leads to hard drug use and addiction is like saying riding a tricycle as a toddler leads to higher incidents of fatal bike accidents for pre-teens. There is a correlation, but no proof of causation. In fact, the evidence shows that most people who try marijuana as a teen don’t become habitual marijuana users, let alone users of other “hard” drugs.

Marijuana prohibition, under the current system, is the primary gateway into the criminal justice system for our youth. After seventy-five years of sensationalized rhetoric, typified by “Reefer Madness” and its progeny, law enforcement and educators have lost credibility in the eyes of our youth. We should ask the same question as our allies in Washington state, where voters will also decide whether to legalize marijuana this November: “Isn’t it time for a new approach?”

Art Way is Colorado Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Medical Marijuana Banking Bill Dies in Committee

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DENVER – An effort to help Colorado’s hundreds of medical marijuana businesses get bank accounts failed on Tuesday evening.

Banks won’t do business with the industry because it would be considered money laundering since marijuana is a controlled substance under federal law.

State Senate Bill 75 would have allowed dispensaries and patients to join financial co-ops, which would run just like credit unions.

The bill died in the Senate Finance Committee by a 5-2 vote on Tuesday evening.

Those in the medical pot business say it would have kept them from dealing in cash, which they argue is dangerous.

“[Dispensaries] are already selling medical marijuana now, they are sometimes forced to have cash on hand and that can just make them more of a target for criminals,” Brian Vicente, who runs the marijuana advocacy group Sensible Colorado, said.

The banking industry came out in opposition to SB 75, warning that the federal government would certainly step in to shut down any co-op serving the medical marijuana industry.

“So that’s the greatest threat this institution would face,” Jenifer Waller, with the Colorado Bankers Association, said. “Another challenge would be just having access to the payment system, being able to issue checks and do wire transfers.”

Waller says institutions need federal insurance to access payment systems, which means the co-ops created by SB 75 might have effectively been reduced to little more than vaults for holding deposits.

Some in the medical marijuana industry would welcome having a co-op targeted by federal law enforcement as a reason to get the issue into court.

Sen. Pat Steadman (D-Denver) says he hoped that wouldn’t happen, but added “with this issue, that court case is lurking around every corner.”

Steadman sponsored SB 75 along with Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs.)

At a Tuesday hearing, medical marijuana patients said they also feel vulnerable paying in cash, but that many dispensaries won’t take anything else because they don’t have business bank accounts.

Several lawmakers experessed concern about the feasibility of establishing the co-ops under federal regulations.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

Hemp bill in Colorado legislature risks more headaches with feds

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2/2/2012 The Denver Post by John Ingold:

With a deadline looming at the end of this month in the most dramatic federal-state showdown yet in Colorado over marijuana, a state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would raise another cannabis clash.

Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, has introduced a bill to study using the growing of industrial hemp to clean polluted soil, a process known as phytoremediation. McKinley said there is some evidence that hemp plants can suck toxic substances out of the ground.

“There’s not a whole lot known about it,” he said. “So, this is a pilot program to study it.”

Growing hemp, though, is illegal under federal law without approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, which rarely grants permission. Hemp and marijuana are taxonomically identical versions of cannabis plants.

Although hemp advocates argue that hemp and marijuana are the same in the way that Pomeranians and St. Bernards are, a DEA spokeswoman said the growing of any cannabis plant without DEA approval is a felony.

“State law provides no immunity to private persons or state officials who violate federal law,” DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden wrote in an e-mail.

That, however, doesn’t ruffle McKinley. His bill — which is co-sponsored by House Agriculture Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling — wouldn’t even require researchers to seek federal approval before putting plants in the ground.

“If we worried about what the feds were going to do, we wouldn’t get anything done,” McKinley said. “We just have to go do it ourselves and see what happens.”

Colorado is already in something of a stare-down with the federal government over the state’s medical-marijuana laws. Last month, federal prosecutors sent letters to 23 dispensaries operating in compliance with state law but within 1,000 feet of a school. The dispensaries were given until Feb. 27 to close or face federal criminal or civil punishment.

Hemp advocates have long extolled the virtue of the plant as an agricultural product.

Unlike marijuana, hemp contains very little THC, the chemical that creates marijuana’s high. But, because of the federal prohibitions, all hemp products currently in the U.S. — from hemp clothing to hemp rope to hemp seeds in granola — come from imported sources.

Tom Murphy, the national outreach director for Vote Hemp, said he knows of no one growing industrial hemp legally in the United States.

David West — who, as head of the now-defunct Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Project, was one of the few people ever to receive DEA approval to grow cannabis — said the process to obtain a license is prohibitively difficult.

“They want to grow it out there?” West said when told of McKinley’s bill. “There’s a fat chance that’s going to happen.”

John Ingold: 303-954-1068 or

Read more: Hemp bill in Colorado legislature risks more headaches with feds – The Denver Post
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General Cannabis, Inc. makes huge moves in Medical Marijuana Industry

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General Cannabis, Inc. (OTCBB:CANA.ob – News), (OTCQX: CANA) of California, a technology-based Internet marketing services company, is making huge moves in the medical marijuana industry. Recent activities include the acquisition of WeedMaps (December 2011) and MMJMenu (November 2011). WeedMaps can be described as the yelp of medical marijuana dispensaries and MMJMenu is one of the most trafficked medical marijuana websites that offer point of sale and supply chain management software in the United States. WeedMaps had just acquired the domain name in late November 2011 and the Android Application WeedLaws in early December 2011. “WeedMaps’ continuing growth validates our ability to generate significant revenue through Internet portals that serve niche markets, even as the current economy and overall market conditions remain volatile,” said Doug Francis, President of General Cannabis. “Clearly, our many offerings, including smartphone applications, offer winning solutions for those in the medical cannabis community. As a result of our successes, we strongly believe that we can leverage our technological platform and systems into other industry sectors.”

It is no secret that General Cannabis is experiencing record setting revenues with third quarter earnings published at $4.1 million, a year-over-year increase of 106%, compared with $2.0 million for the third quarter of 2010, and an increase to $10.4 million for the nine months ending September 30, 2011, an increase of 87%, from $5.5 million for nine months ended September 30, 2010.

About General Cannabis

General Cannabis, Inc., a technology-based Internet marketing services company, offers customers an integrated suite of services including media, technology, marketing and information. Founded in 2010, General Cannabis is headquartered in Newport Beach, California. The Company’s common stock trades on the OTC market’s highest tier, OTCQX, under the ticker symbol “CANA.”

Colorado becomes the Fourth State to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to Reclassify Marijuana

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January 1, 2012 By Matt Smith, CNN

(CNN) — Medical marijuana advocates are hoping state governments can succeed where their efforts have failed by asking federal authorities to reclassify pot as a drug with medical use.

Shortly before Christmas, Colorado became the fourth state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic in the same league as heavyweight painkillers including oxycodone. The governors of Washington and Rhode Island filed a formal petition with the agency in November, and Vermont signed onto that request shortly afterward.

All four are among the sixteen states and the District of Columbia that have laws on the books that allow the medical use of marijuana, even though the drug remains illegal under federal law. Meanwhile, federal authorities have asserted their power by raiding dispensaries in states including California and Washington.

Supporters say the public is on their side, and the state requests show the feds are increasingly isolated on the issue. But they acknowledge it’s still an uphill battle.

“I don’t think that we’re going to see to much change in Washington’s position on this until public opinion and state-level support reaches a little bit higher a tipping point,” said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project.

The DEA said it would “reply accordingly,” but noted that similar petitions had been rejected before. DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno told CNN that the agency gives “great respect” to state governments, but their requests would get “the same attention as a petition from a medical group or anything else.”

Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug by the DEA, meaning it’s dangerous and has no medical use. Medical marijuana advocates, including the states that have petitioned the agency, say it should be listed under Schedule II, comparing it to other prescription painkillers that have a high potential for abuse.

In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration restated its opposition to medical marijuana, saying “no sound scientific studies” support its use. State laws authorizing it “are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA approval process,” it added.

But in their November petition, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and Rhode Island’s Lincoln Chafee argued that “the vast majority of modern research” has found marijuana useful for treating patients with glaucoma, for relieving the nausea suffered by cancer patients in chemotherapy and for relieving symptoms of degenerative nerve diseases.

They cite a 2001 study by the National Academy of Sciences that recommended research into the “potential therapeutic value” of cannabis, though it warned that smoking pot was a “crude” method “that also delivers harmful substances.”

“Since the last FDA review in 2006, the scientific process has identified and clarified even more of the therapeutic effects of cannabis through ongoing research and assessment of available data,” wrote Gregoire, a Democrat, and Chafee, a former Republican-turned-independent. “This petition presents this further evidence. It is now time for the DEA to reschedule the substance.”

The Obama administration says it is willing to support research, but has taken a stiff position against medical marijuana. In October, in response to online petitions, White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said marijuana “is not a benign drug.”

Medical marijuana group sues Obama administration

“Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine,” Kerlikowske wrote. “To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.”

Carreno said petitions to reschedule a drug take years to review. The DEA does its own analysis, then refers the requests to the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, which review their own research.

“Then they send recommendations back to us, and based on the recommendation we get, we make a decision,” she said.

Critics call medical marijuana a “Trojan horse” for legalizing the drug entirely, and federal authorities mounted a string of high-profile raids in California, Washington and Montana in 2011.

The Justice Department says it isn’t targeting patients who are in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws. In October’s raids in California, prosecutors said they were targeting organizations that had become large-scale commercial traffickers, operating beyond the limits of state law.

In their petition, Gregoire and Chafee said rescheduling was needed because states can’t make rules governing medical marijuana “without putting their employees at risk of violating federal law.”

“From a patient perspective, there’s a lot of things up in the air,” Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis told CNN. He said the state hopes “to give them clarity and peace of mind, both in the environment in which they get it and the prescription and dose they get.”

A round of federal raids targeted dispensaries in the Seattle area in November, but agents were targeting “folks who were distributing without a medical purpose,” Curtis said.

Washington allows patients to grow their own marijuana and keep a 60-day supply, which it defines as up to 24 ounces. Patients and designated health-care providers can keep “collective gardens.”

Rhode Island allows patients to grow up to 12 plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces of pot for their own use, as long as a doctor has certified that it may alleviate symptoms and the potential risks don’t outweigh the benefits. It also allows “compassion centers” to cultivate and dispense marijuana, as long as it stays within those limits for each patient.

In Colorado, legislation passed in 2010 allows state regulators to keep a tight rein on dispensaries and required them to request reclassification from the DEA.

“As long as there is a divergence in state and federal law, there is a lack of certainty necessary to provide safe access for patients with serious medical conditions,” Barbara Brohl, the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, wrote in a December 22 letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

Since the law went into effect, more than 700 people have applied for licenses to sell medical marijuana, said Mark Couch, a spokesman for Brohl’s office. The state collected about $5 million in sales taxes in the last fiscal year, which ended in June — a tiny fraction of the state’s $8 billion general fund, he said.

Fox said the state’s requests to reclassify the drug “could and certainly should” give the states some breathing room, “but I really don’t think it will.”

“I think that it’s not going to provide any real tangible benefits immediately,” he said. But it if succeeds, “It will definitely bring the federal government more in line with currently accepted science.”

In the meantime, “There’s no reason for the federal government to be wasting resources going after medical marijuana providers,” he said.

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