Newly passed ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington decriminalize the use of recreational marijuana — and raise a host of complicated legal questions. Kevin Sabet, former senior adviser to the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, explains some of the conflicts the new legislation poses.
Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island have petitioned the federal government to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses. Rhode Island and Washington state have already decriminalized medical marijuana in their states. But marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance — the same category as heroin and LSD. It's a confusing distinction for many medical marijuana patients in those states. Governors Gregoire and Chafee say the federal government should reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance in order to cut down confusion for medial marijuana patients.