The Spokane City Council unanimously agreed Monday that marijuana should be able to be possessed legally by people who have a legitimate medical need for the drug.
The council approved a nonbinding resolution endorsing a letter that Gov. Chris Gregoire and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee sent to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in November requesting that marijuana be reclassified from being a "Schedule 1" drug to become a "Schedule 2" drug.
Schedule 1 drugs, such as heroin, are illegal. Schedule 2 drugs can be legal with a prescription.
Last year, dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries shut down, voluntarily or by force, in Spokane County after federal authorities warned that they were violating federal law.
"We have a lot of citizens who are caught in the legal limbo by this situation," said Councilman Jon Snyder, who sponsored the resolution. "The reclassification to Schedule 2 would simply allow medical uses of marijuana to be acknowledged and put the drug in a situation where it could be regulated and researched and used in a way that is more along the desires of the citizens of Washington State."
Councilman Steve Salvatori said he's become more supportive of changing laws to allow the use of medical marijuana after his wife's sister died from brain cancer last year.
"If you've ever seen someone who is suffering and going through the side effects of trying to be treated, there's a reason why the American Medical Association supports this move," he said.