Medical Marijuana in North Carolina May be Delayed, But Legalization is Inevitable
Advocates for medical marijuana are saying that the state might be hitting some speed bumps on its road to legalization, but don’t despair: It will indeed soon be time to get a North Carolina Marijuana Card.
Less than a couple of months ago, it seemed like SB 711, North Carolina’s proposed medical marijuana bill, was going to coast towards passage as it bounded over one legislative hurdle after another.
Now however, legislators are saying the bill may be on the shelf until early 2022, but that North Carolinans who have been desperately waiting for relief shouldn’t give up the ship just yet. Whether it’s the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, pundits say medical marijuana is indeed on its way to the Tar Heel State.
North Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Seemed Like a Sure Thing for 2021
If you’ve been following our updates, or, better yet, if you subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe below if you don’t already!), then you know we’ve been saying for months that SB 711 had a better chance of passage than any other proposed medical marijuana bill in our state’s history.
First, SB 711 came along at a time when medical marijuana is no longer a controversial topic. In fact, 91% of Americans support medical marijuana, and 70% or more of North Carolinians agree with them.
Second, that groundswell of public support has led to politicians following suit. Now even Republican legislators have been expressing their support for medical marijuana, SB 711 sponsor State Senator Bill Rabon being chief amongst them.
But Rabon has hardly been alone on the GOP side of the aisle when it comes to support for medical marijuana, as we’ve highlighted in an article about which N.C. politicians have walked the walk on bringing relief to their constituents.
So with Republicans who have been notoriously opposed to medical marijuana for years reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats who have been trying to pass legalization legislation for just as long, and with 70+% of their constituents supporting medical marijuana, it seemed the wait for suffering North Carolinians was finally at an end.
And now, just as we are so achingly close, it seems the arrival of medical marijuana to the Tar Heel State is going to have to wait just a little longer.
What’s Behind the Latest Delay in Getting Medical Marijuana in North Carolina?
The people want it and the politicians are willing to finally provide it, but unfortunately SB 711 may have run out of time, at least for this year.
SB 711 Delayed Because Medical Marijuana Legislation is Complicated
“There’s far more moving parts to this thing than I thought there was when we began,” State Senator Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth, told WNCT, Greenville’s CBS affiliate. Lowe, one of SB 711’s sponsors, told the station “We want to make sure we get it right.”
And unfortunately, when complicated, time-consuming legislation is before the Legislature, sometimes other issues have to take precedence, making that legislation even more time consuming. We’re already three months into the current fiscal year, but the Legislature has yet to approve a budget. On top of that, redistricting maps have to be completed for the 2022 elections.
And so even supporters of medical marijuana like Lowe are saying it might be time to fold the tent and set it back up during the 2022 legislative session.
SB 711 Delayed Because of Insufficient Republican Support
Although more and more Republican legislators are supporting medical marijuana, it remains a hot-button topic for many of them.
WNCT said there was insufficient GOP support to believe that SB 711 would pass this year, and noted that many of those Republican holdouts are refusing to lend their support to the bill for fear it will lead to legalized adult-use marijuana in the state.
WNCT specifically quoted State Senator Ralph Hise, of Mitchell County, as saying “I think (recreational marijuana advocates) use those who are suffering from these serious diseases as an opportunity to further their agenda.”
There was no word on Hise’s thoughts on callous politicians who are fine with those people continuing to suffer so long as it means some North Carolinians have their partying options limited.
Medical Marijuana in North Carolina May be Delayed, but It Won’t be Denied
Although the thought of yet another delay in implementing North Carolina’s medical marijuana market may be discouraging, advocates say the news isn’t all bad.
Chris Suttle, of Change is Coming Consultants, told WNCT that delays don’t mean dead ends, so long as medical marijuana supporters remain vocal and apply pressure to lawmakers.
“It doesn’t matter the reasons behind the delays as much as it matters that we don’t lose the passion, we don’t lose the fight and the energy that we’ve always had going forward,” Suttle told WNCT.
Garret Perdue, one of the founders of N.C. Families for Medical Cannabis, told WNCT that the delay was disappointing, but he was encouraged by how seriously the Legislature has been treating the debate.
“While disappointing it is heartening to see the quality of the conversation taking place,” said Perdue, who is also CEO of Root Bioscience, a manufacturer of CBD products. Perdue told WNCT that unlike in previous legislative sessions, medical marijuana isn’t being killed by opposition in 2021, but that “time is the issue.”
Whether It’s 2021 or 2022, We Can Help You Get Ready for Medical Marijuana
It ain’t over until it’s over, and 2021 ain’t over. We may still see the passage of a medical marijuana bill here before we have to break out the new calendars.
But even if we end up hitting one more delay in North Carolina’s long journey to medical marijuana, it will only be a delay, and the inevitable is already on the way: Medical Marijuana is going to come to North Carolina, and we can help you get ready for it.
Schedule an evaluation today with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as North Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet virtually with your doctor using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Without even leaving the comfort and safety of your own home, you’ll discuss your condition with your doctor, and how medical marijuana may help you find relief. Not only that, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-7320, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out North Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in North Carolina!