MarijuanaA bill to legalize medical marijuana, introduced by Representative Kelly Alexander, was considered by the House Judiciary I Committee today. Despite heart-wrenching testimony from veterans and others with serious medical conditions, the committee took less than thirty seconds to vote to give the bill an unfavorable report.

If passed, the bill would have allowed North Carolinians to obtain prescriptions and legally buy cannabis from licensed distributors. The distributors in turn would have purchased the plant from licensed growers, who would have been regulated by the Department of Agriculture. The bill would have taxed each sale of marijuana at 5% and created a revenue for the state.

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MarijuanaThe movement to end marijuana prohibition is slowly and quietly gathering steam in North Carolina — sometimes with surprising champions.

As explains, a large group of activists came to the General Assembly yesterday:

“About 150 people turned out Thursday to lobby state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana, marking the largest turnout in years. Even supporters of legalization say it’s unlikely to happen this year, but they say momentum is growing.

Tammy Tiffany, who hurt her back in an accident four years ago, uses medical marijuana to manage the pain. She said it gave her her life back from prescription drugs.

‘I don’t want to do the pain pills any more, the opiates, the anti-depressants,’ Tiffany said. ‘It’s a rabbit hole. When you go down, it’s very hard to come back out of, and it can cost you your life.'”

Meanwhile, as an article in the Fayetteville Observer explained, those championing legalization include a growing group of military veterans who are pushing to make the drug legal for pain management.

“The veterans, mostly retired senior noncommissioned officers or officers, have something else in common: They are Republicans.

The Fayetteville veterans are the core of the growing North Carolina Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, or N.C. RAMP.”

Yesterday’s lobby day came as at least two significant bills with multiple sponsors now await action in the General Assembly: the “Enact Medical Cannabis Act” and “Medical Marijuana for terminally Ill Patients” proposal. As the Observer article notes, there is also bipartisan legislation in Congress on the subject.

Stay tuned. There may finally be some light at the end of the tunnel on the move to end this important issue.


In case you missed it, Mike Meno of the ACLU of North Carolina posted the following insightful essay last Friday about action by the state House to allow physicians to recommend an oil derived from marijuana for treating certain epilepsy symptoms:

Marijuana legalizationNC House Overwhelmingly Approves Marijuana Extract for Epilepsy, but Ignores Countless Others Who Could Benefit from Compassionate Laws

Yesterday, the North Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow neurologists to recommend an oil derived from marijuana compounds to certain patients suffering from epileptic conditions. The legislation was inspired in part by 7-year-old Charlotte Figi, who made national news on CNN for a chronic, debilitating condition that could be relieved only through the marijuana-based treatment. Charlotte suffered up to 50 painful seizures a day before her parents discovered that an oil derived from a strain of marijuana that was high in the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) but low in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) virtually ended her seizures entirely and allowed her to live a happy and healthy life. Read More


MarijuanaState Rep. Pat McElraft deserves credit for expressing her intent to introduce legislation that would legalize the use of a specific kind of marijuana oil that has shown promise in treating an especially horrific illness that afflicts children.  The Republican lawmaker from Carteret County got emotional yesterday when she discussed the matter with WRAL’s Bruce Mildwurf. This is from Mildwurf’s online story:

“We’ve got to do this for them. It’s the only hope they have,” McElraft said as she choked back tears.

A good next step would be for McElraft and her colleagues to listen to the heartbreaking stories of any number of adults who have also found blessed relief from numerous forms of intense pain and suffering through the use of medical marijuana and to then think about addressing their needs as well. Read More


New report shows that in North Carolina, African Americans are 3.4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite equal use rates

State spent almost $55 million enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010; ACLU-NC says North Carolina needs to change failed laws

RALEIGH – According to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union, North Carolina spent nearly $55 million enforcing marijuana possession laws in 2010, while statewide African Americans were arrested for marijuana possession at 3.4 times the rate of whites, despite comparable marijuana usage rates. The report, Marijuana in Black and White: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Arrests, released today, is the first ever to examine state and county marijuana arrest rates nationally by race. Read More