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A bipartisan group of 42 state lawmakers signed a letter asking the DEA to reschedule marijuana to a classification that could allow it be prescribed and sold in pharmacies.

The letter and a joint House-Senate resolution introduced yesterday piggy-back on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s existing petition to reschedule marijuana, which is also supported by a handful of other states. The lawmakers, like Gregoire, see rescheduling marijuana as the simplest, clearest solution to the conflict between federal prohibition of marijuana and Washington’s medical marijuana law.

“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who need medical cannabis. More to the point, it is clear that the long-standing classification of medical use of cannabis in the United States as an illegal Schedule I substance is fundamentally flawed and should be changed.”

Lawmakers – in the state, and in Congress – have taken this position before; Newt Gingrich in 1981 backed a rescheduling petition as a young U.S. Representative from Georgia. But it feels like a groundswell of renewed interest in reclassification and legalization from the lessthanusual suspects.

A hearing on the resolution is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Senate Health and Long-term Care committee.