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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

DEA Turns Down Washington State's Request To Reclassify Marijuana

Drug Enforcement Agency
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration denied a petition by the State of Washington to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he’s disappointed by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's decision not to reclassify marijuana. In a letter Thursday, the DEA said marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug for now.

Schedule I drugs are those considered the most dangerous with the potential for severe psychological or physical dependence. The list includes heroin, LSD, ecstasy and marijuana.

Washington and Rhode Island had asked the DEA to reschedule marijuana since it’s used medically. But in a four-page letter, the DEA denied that request noting the FDA has not approved marijuana for medical use.

Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote, “If the scientific understanding about marijuana changes … then the decision could change.” He added that the DEA supports “legitimate medical and scientific research on marijuana.”

In a statement, Inslee said he’s “disappointed that we don’t have a national standard for at least medical marijuana.” Regardless, he said Washington state will continue to allow both medical and recreational marijuana.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."