Pubdate: Fri, 27 Apr 2001
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2001 The New York Times Company
Author: Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Note: The writer is a Washington State senator.


To the Editor:

Regarding the efforts of Richard N. Gottfried, the New York State 
assemblyman, to pass medical marijuana legislation (news article, April 
20), perhaps he could join me in working to make a change at the federal level.

While Washington is one of several states in which voters have approved 
citizen initiatives allowing limited use of medical marijuana, doctors 
can't prescribe it. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, 
along with heroin and LSD, in effect prohibiting its distribution. For 
doctors to prescribe marijuana legally, it has to be reclassified as a 
Schedule II drug.

Yet for decades, the federal Department of Health and Human Services has 
provided marijuana to patients in its Investigational New Drug Program. 
It's time for our government to make its policies consistent and compassionate.


Seattle, April 24, 2001

The writer is a Washington State senator.
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