- D.H. Reilly
Obstacles to Legalization in North Carolina
We’ve been telling you for some time that you’d soon be able to get a North Carolina Marijuana Card. And we still think that’s true, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t obstacles to overcome before we get there.
The good news, though, is that those obstacles seem absolutely poised to fall, leaving time as the only thing standing between North Carolina and the relief medical marijuana can offer.
Let’s take a look at some of the remaining obstacles that are preventing North Carolinians from enjoying the benefits of medical marijuana, benefits that are now being enjoyed by thirty-six of the states in our union.
North Carolina is Politically Dominated by Republicans, Who Traditionally Oppose Legalization
Historically, the biggest obstacle between North Carolina and medical marijuana has been that the state government is dominated by Republicans, and Republicans have traditionally opposed legalization.
However, this obstacle is crumbling faster than perhaps any of the others, and doesn’t seem likely to stand between Tar Heel State residents and relief for much longer.
Jill Swing of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance told Florence, South Carolina, CBS affiliate WBTW, that as public opinion has shifted in medical marijuana’s favor, “The greatest increase in support has been Republicans who support it.”
Although Republican lawmakers were once worried that supporting legalization would hurt their re-election odds, instead “they have been touted as heroes by stepping out and supporting medical cannabis legislation.”
And so while some Republicans in the North Carolina Legislature remain opposed to legalization, SB 711 has nevertheless been slowly but surely making its way through the legislative process thanks to a new breed of GOP who have seen the legalization light.
North Carolina is a Very Religious State
Tar Heel State residents take their religion very seriously, and we have the numbers to prove it.
U.S. News and World Report says that we’re one of the ten most religious states in the nation. And the Pew Research Center reports that 73% of us are “absolutely certain” in our belief in God, and 62% call religion “very important” in our lives.
Given the stigma that has long painted marijuana use as deviant and sinful, it’s no wonder that North Carolina would be one of the last holdouts on embracing medical marijuana.
But that stigma is beginning to crumble, and people are no longer looking at marijuana use as judgmentally as they once did. In 2018, Gallup reported that 65% of Americans viewed marijuana use as morally acceptable. A mere two years later, Gallup would report that this number jumped to 70%. And this year Pew Research found that 91% of Americans support legalization of medical marijuana.
As Americans in general, and North Carolinians specifically, continue to view marijuana as the medicine it is instead of as the devil it isn’t, prohibitionists are likely to become so outnumbered that whatever obstacles they erect will become irrelevant.
Many Law Enforcement Officials Oppose Medical Marijuana
We’ve already told you how one North Carolina legislator complained that he opposed legalization because police would no longer be able to use the smell of marijuana as a probable cause justification for searching people’s cars.
Senator Jim Burgin, of Concord, who represents Harnett, Lee, and Johnston Counties, told the other members of the Health Care Committee that “All three of my sheriffs are against this bill, saying it’s going to cause a probable cause nightmare from them.”
And Michigan prosecuting attorney Mark Reene told the Washington Post that his state has seen a decline in contraband arrests since police there have been unable to use the smell of marijuana as probable cause to search vehicles.
Reene’s remarks were echoed by Mary Tanner-Richter, of the Albany County district attorney’s office in New York.
“It’s going to, without a doubt, lead to less searches of vehicles, which would then lead to less guns being recovered and significant drugs being recovered,” Tanner-Richter told the Post. “I mean, I think it’s hard to argue against that being the reality we’re going to face. That’s how they found Ted Bundy. That’s how the Oklahoma City bomber got caught.”
But imagine if aspirin were illegal. Or penicillin. Or any other safe and effective medication. Would we tell diabetic North Carolinians that they’ll just have to do without insulin, because some diabetics are also criminals and police need to be able to use suspected insulin possession as probable cause?
Besides the inherently twisted logic of saying marijuana must remain illegal so that police can continue arresting people for having it, some police in states with legal marijuana have found it helps them in their work to no longer have to concern themselves with marijuana.
William Neafsey, head of the Narcotics Task Force at the Essex County prosecutor’s office in New Jersey, told the Post that his office has now been freed up to pursue heroin and cocaine crimes more attentively.
“I thought, ‘This is what we should be doing. This is the stuff that matters,’ ” Neafsey said. “If you’re not worried about investigating marijuana, it frees up manpower to go after the serious stuff.”
If North Carolinians want it badly enough, and research shows that they do, then we’ll get medical marijuana here despite objections from law enforcement officials, because their objections just don’t hold up to logical scrutiny.
Take the First Step to Finding Relief with Medical Marijuana
While we cannot see the future, it seems likely as we look at history and around the country that the prohibition against medical marijuana in North Carolina just isn’t going to last.
And while you can’t get medical marijuana here yet, you can take the first step right now.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our compassionate doctors, and we’ll set up an appointment for you just as soon as North Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. You’ll discuss your condition and whether or not medical marijuana might be right for you, all from the comfort of your own home. 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!