Commentary

Lawmaker unwittingly sums up the insanity of NC marijuana/hemp laws in a single quote

Rep. Jimmy Dixon

In case you missed it this morning, be sure to check out the WRAL news story about yesterday’s state House committee action on the issue of smokable hemp. As you’ve probably heard, the issue of hemp cultivation and sale has sparked controversy because the plant is essentially indistinguishable from marijuana, which unlike hemp, contains THC — the chemical that produces the marijuana “high.”

On Wednesday, a state House committee voted to continue to allow the cultivation and development of hemp products, except for smokable hemp. As WRAL reported in its Wednesday roundup:

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin, is adamant that smokable hemp, which looks and smells like marijuana but lacks the THC potency to get anyone high, needs to be banned in North Carolina, or else marijuana prosecutions will be next to impossible to pursue. So, he has inserted the ban into the annual Farm Act, and he also rewrote a Senate bill on controlled substances to define smokable hemp as marijuana. Both bills cleared committees Wednesday.

Here’s the truly amazing part of the first story though:

Law enforcement isn’t just worried about it being harder to enforce marijuana laws but about losing probable cause for searches based on the smell of marijuana smoke, or when a drug dog keys in on a vehicle.

“If this bill passes without the ban, we will put 800 of our law enforcement dogs and their handlers out of business,” Dixon said.

Did you get that? The reason Dixon and company want to keep smokable hemp and marijuana illegal is to protect law enforcement jobs and to continue to provide an excuse for police searches!

To which, all a body can say in response is: Hello! Those are not legitimate reasons for something to be illegal and for government to be imprisoning people. Marijuana is already effectively legal for the majority of Americans — a reality supported by nearly two-thirds of the population.

The bottom line: It’s absurd that North Carolina continues to criminalize this substance, doubly absurd that we would extend the prohibition to smokable hemp and triply absurd that the rationale behind the policy would be based on something as irrelevant as its impact on law enforcement or the ability of law enforcement officers to investigate other offenses. As one observer noted yesterday, if they’re really so concerned about law enforcement jobs, Dixon and his allies would do well to redirect their time and energy toward retraining the dogs and their trainers to sniff out white collar crime.

15 Comments


  1. Molly D

    July 18, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I can’t think of a more idiotic contention than that it’s better for the citizens of NC to save the “jobs” of DOGS than allow hemp farmers to sell a product that’s completely non-psychoactive, considered healthful, and more profitable that virtually all other forms of hemp.
    As for law enforcement’s claim that failing to ban smokable hemp flower (which can also be used to make CBD oil or tinctures at home at a far lower cost than commercial preparations) would hamper their using “the odor of marijuana” as probable cause for searches: boo hoo. Our existing DUI statutes can (and should be!) enforced if someone is driving under the influence, which can be easily demonstrated by a field sobriety test. Otherwise, what justification exists for the police to spend their time and our tax money to pursue even possession of actual “marijuana”? Possession of <1.5 oz of even high-THC cannabis is not only a misdemeanor, but has no "victim".
    The safety of the general public would be FAR better served if the police concentrate on arresting and building cases against those who actually harm others by assaulting, raping, robbing and burglarizing them.

  2. Shannon

    July 19, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Spot on… I felt the same way when I read that but did give props for them actually admitting it…However, we have an opioid epidemic, maybe they could focus on that?

  3. keely

    July 19, 2019 at 10:46 am

    These idiotic dinosaurs need to be voted out.

  4. Mollie K

    July 19, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Maybe someone could suggest to him that the 800 unemployed dogs could go happily retire on one the thousands of new hemp farms that would be created by legalizing the industry instead of continuing to try and fight what’s going to happen anyway.

  5. Jeff

    July 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    There is people in this state that needs actual marijuana but dont have access to it because of the laws, something needs to change.

  6. CLIFTON MIDDLETON

    July 19, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Law enforcement is only concerned about the anti marijuana budget going down the drain as a total waste of time and money. The cops still want to bust folks for pot, confiscate their property and disenfranchise from the vote. The truth is that the pot laws are modern day, institutionalized racism, disguised as law and disorder

  7. Linda

    July 19, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    Did they take into account how many farmers this will put out of business. And their employees. I know they will still be growing hemp just not in the volumes it will be if they allowed it to still be sold. I am so sick of these politicians making rules for us they know nothing about.

  8. Donna Simon

    July 19, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    When I was in the room in Raleigh I was blown away at the ignorance of these people. They had no clue about the industry, growing, harvesting, processing, Dispensarys, how its sold, how it works, nothing. A bunch of uneducated people making decisions they have no clue about. Farmers over dogs, so sad.

  9. Brandon

    July 20, 2019 at 12:03 am

    This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. I for one find it disgusting but not surprising that the Government would put petty revenue and criminal charges ahead of agriculture and economy. Rep. Jimmy Dixons statement was pretty clear that they are more interested in locking people up for NOTHING and not making Law Enforcement do their jobs. Keep in consideration that the State Prisons are privately owned and the state must sign agreements with the privately owned institutions stating that they will keep the prisons at a specific occupancy. Further more why not legalize Marijuana if the authorities are to ignorant to tell the difference. It’s appalling that smokeable hemp will be an arrest-able offense just because the police need a means to violate your rights with bogus probable cause so they can toss your 4th Amendment Right to the wayside. Dogs have been trained to falsely hit on vehicles so the Law Enforcement Officer can hide behind the blanket of law and violate your rights. If smokeable hemp puts 800 K9 and handlers out of a job; we didn’t need them in the first place. We have roads and infrastructure that needs to be maintained instead of tax money going to useless Law Enforcement. 800 K9 is a small price to pay for 80000 people a YEAR being charged, fined and imprisoned over a plant.

  10. david richardson

    July 21, 2019 at 7:29 am

    This is why we need to vote out the GOP

  11. Chris

    July 21, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Yeah, heaven forbid dogs in the unemployment line, they will be expecting food stamps next. When the state goes back dem, you will have no one to blame but Republicans

  12. Patrice helms

    July 22, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    It’s time to vote the old men and women out of office and get some educated people in there . Vote out the ones that don’t want to legalize it . That’s what I’m doing .

  13. Dave Palmer

    July 22, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    The House Committee Chair Julia Howard has introduced her version of the bill to ban all retail CBD hemp products until approved at the federal level which may not happen anytime soon. Why is North Carolina abdicating their leadership in the hemp industry? This makes no sense at all.

    Please consider a compromise with regulatory language that allows warrantless search if a law enforcement officer sees or smells what may be cannabis plant material. If the person has hemp packaging with a current sales receipt consistent with the amount of plant material then it should be reasonable to determine the material is hemp and not marijuana.

    This would not limit enforcement and a field test kit would not be necessary. The purchaser of the hemp plant material would assume the responsibility of having packaging and sales receipt or be charged with possession.

    Is this not possible?

  14. Michael

    July 22, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Dogs can easily be trained for other duties such as sniffing out explosives, cadavers, or search and rescue, or better yet sniff out politicians full of crap.

  15. THOMAS ROSE

    July 23, 2019 at 9:59 am

    NO ONE SEEMS TO REALIZE THAT PLANTING YOUR SEED IS A GOD GIVEN, INDIVIDUAL, CONSTITUTIONAL, HUMAN RIGHT. THERE IS NO POINT TO THESE DEBATES THAT SHOULD OVERRIDE THE HUMAN RIGHT TO PLANT THE SEEDS AND GROW WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR FOOD,MEDICINE,CLOTHING,SHELTER, FUEL,PLEASURE OR YOU OWN DEMISE. INDIVIDUALS HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS BIG PHARMA CORPORATIONS.

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