- D.H. Reilly
What Opponents to Medical Marijuana in North Carolina Are Saying
We’ve come one step closer to the day when you’ll be able to get a North Carolina Marijuana Card, as SB 711 has cleared another Senate committee in the face of some vocal opposition.
We told you how SB 711, a bill to create a medical marijuana market, cleared the Judiciary Committee on August 24. Well two days later it narrowly advanced out of the Health Care Committee, overcoming some very silly arguments against the bill in the process.
August 26, 2021: Medical Marijuana Passes out of the State Senate Health Care Committee
The good news is that SB 711 did indeed pass out of the Health Care Committee, the latest Senate committee to consider it. From here, the bill will likely go to a full Senate vote before making its way to the House of Representatives where it’ll have to repeat the process.
The bad news is that SB 711 narrowly passed out of the committee, and that those who voted against it offered some questionable arguments as to why they did so.
And the other good news is that, like all of the arguments made against medical marijuana, the arguments offered during the Health Care Committee meeting in opposition to SB 711 are easily refuted, and that public support for medical marijuana remains strong despite politicians who took Reefer Madness seriously.
We Can’t Legalize Marijuana, Because Then We Couldn’t Arrest People for Using Marijuana
One of the day’s ludicrous arguments came from Senator Jim Burgin, of Concord.
Burgin argued that medical marijuana shouldn’t be legalized, because then police couldn’t use smelling marijuana as probable cause to search vehicles and homes.
“All three of my sheriffs are against this bill, saying it’s going to cause a probable cause nightmare from them,” said Burgin, in reference to the sheriffs of the three counties that Burgin represents: Harnett, Lee and Johnston Counties.
But in a debate over whether or not medical marijuana should be legalized, the probable cause issue is a red herring that distracts from the real point.
If medical marijuana would be good for North Carolina, then of course it should be legalized. And if it is legalized, then of course police should not be able to search your property just because they suspect you use it.
Yes, perhaps some criminals who once would have been caught based on a probable cause search might escape the law if medical marijuana is legalized. But if that’s a reason to forbid law-abiding Tar Heel State residents access to a safe, effective medicine, then why not just ban more things? If we outlaw soft drinks, police could search your car if they thought you’d been drinking Coke. And if the police searched the car of every suspected Coke drinker they pulled over, why I bet they’d catch more criminals!
The issue being debated is whether or not medical marijuana should be legalized in North Carolina. If the answer is “yes,” then of course the smell of marijuana should no longer be probable cause.
We Shouldn’t Legalize Medical Marijuana Until the FDA Makes a Recommendation on it, Even Though the FDA Can’t Make a Recommendation While Marijuana is Illegal
Senator Ralph Hise, of Spruce Pine, offered up another flawed argument against medical marijuana, saying it was inappropriate to recognize cannabis as medicine until the FDA had actually made recommendations about the medical value of pot.
“We’re all supposed to say, ‘Look, they’re the scientists,’” Hise said. “Well, where are the FDA recommendations on medical marijuana?”
But because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the FDA, a federal agency, legally cannot make recommendations about marijuana.
In essence, Senator Hise is arguing that North Carolina should not decide for itself what is best for the state, but should instead leave that to the federal government.
So much for small government.
State-Level Republicans not Alone in Offering Strange Reasons to Oppose Legalization
The most common reason for opposition to legalizing medical marijuana is probably that it could lead to the drug being abused.
That seems to be the what Texas Senator John Cornyn meant in his response to a constituent who asked why Cornyn objected to legalizing marijuana federally (which could lead to FDA approval). The Senator said he opposed legalizing marijuana, because almost a million Americans died from drug overdoses between 1999 and 2020.
That’s a flawed argument for at least two reasons. First, while it is possible to abuse and overuse marijuana, it doesn’t seem possible to die from a marijuana overdose per se.
Second, the drug dependency that has resulted in the most deaths over the time period Cornyn cited was opioids, a far more addictive and dangerous drug than marijuana. In fact, medical marijuana has been shown to reduce opioid use and abuse, so if the Senator really wanted to save American lives he’d support legalization.
In fact, one bright spot (other than the fact that SB 711 was passed) of the Health Care Committee’s meeting was that one State Senator made this exact point.
Senator Paul Lowe, of Winston-Salem, one of the two main sponsors of SB 711, pointed out that doctors regularly prescribe opioids, whereas medical marijuana could do much the same for patients in terms of pain relief, but it could do so more safely.
“We should do everything we can to safely and correctly make (medical marijuana) available,” Lowe said.
Medical Marijuana is Rapidly Approaching North Carolina
Despite the vocal opposition SB 711 encountered in the Health Care Committee’s meeting, experts and pundits agree that it appears to be poised to pass, and that medical marijuana should be on its way to North Carolina soon.
And although that day isn’t here yet, there is no reason you can’t get ready for it now. Reserve an evaluation with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate doctors today, 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 with your new doctor virtually using your smartphone or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Together, from the safety and convenience of your own home, you’ll discuss your condition with the doctor and decide together if medical marijuana could be right for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of the 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!