Why North Carolina Needs a Medical Marijuana Program Now
Residents of North Carolina deserve a robust medical marijuana program in the state that allows legal access for everyone who needs it.
North Carolina state lawmakers have been grappling with the idea of legalizing medical marijuana for quite some time with little progress. However, recent talks have garnered additional support from Republicans, signaling that change is just around the bend.
It’s unclear which qualifying conditions will make it into the final cut of SB 711, otherwise known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, and it will likely not go nearly far enough to bring full justice and healing to residents of the state. However, it’s a jumping off point—which might be the best we can do for now.
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A robust medical marijuana program modeled after other states will benefit nearly all residents of North Carolina. Most populations in the state will be able to directly experience better health through natural medicine; medical marijuana producers and dispensaries will bring jobs to the state; and the tax revenue will provide a much needed cushion for public programs.
North Carolina’s Uninsured Will Benefit From Medical Marijuana
North Carolina’s uninsured population is higher than the national average at an average of 11 percent, with the Hispanic/Latino population having a rate of 31 percent uninsured.
According to a network of doctors known as the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine, medical marijuana may provide a partial solution to our crumbling healthcare system that forces patients to choose between insulin and groceries.
Cannabis works on multiple levels in the body, and it addresses a number of symptoms and conditions in a natural, sustainable way. If people can get access to this legitimate form of medicine, then some may be able to live healthier lives than they have in decades.
North Carolina’s Veterans Will Benefit From Medical Marijuana
North Carolina also has a higher veteran population than most other states in the US. With more than 8 percent of North Carolina residents being patients of the VA, this is a huge population that could get a lot out of a medical marijuana program tailored to address veterans’ issues.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, somewhere between 11 and 30 percent of all veterans have been or will be diagnosed with PTSD. They have a higher incidence of traumatic brain injuries, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and chronic pain. They are also at a heightened risk of becoming addicted to opioids for a complex set of reasons.
Medical marijuana is becoming the preferred treatment for all of these conditions, due to fewer unwanted side effects and greater overall effectiveness than traditional therapies. In states where there is a robust medical marijuana program in place, veterans can get access to the kind of care they truly deserve.
North Carolina’s Children Will Benefit From Medical Marijuana
Many states have passed medical marijuana laws to benefit the children living with epilepsy, but it does no good if parents can’t legally get it.
According to the CDC, more than 15 thousand children in North Carolina suffer from epilepsy. Though medical marijuana was approved for treatment of severe forms of epilepsy in North Carolina, there is still nowhere to obtain the medicine that people so desperately need.
If we could even get a law passed that would provide access to our most vulnerable, that would be a win for North Carolina.
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