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November 27, 2018, North Carolina
The cannabis legalization movement is gaining momentum in North Carolina. In a recent interview, state legislator Kelly Alexander told a local news outlet that he will meet his fellow lawmaker in the near future to mull over the provisions of a potential marijuana bill for next year.
Alexander believes that cannabis legalization is a long overdue measure and it’s about time lawmakers catch up with the voters. He has also discussed a locally-administrated cannabis legal system, similar to the statewide alcohol operations. Regulations pertaining to alcohol sales are devised by respective counties in North Carolina. For that matter, both dry and wet counties coexist under the same state rules.
Alexander’s opinion on cannabis legalization, in fact, reflects what masses think about the role of the strain in the society. According to a survey conducted by Elon University last year, 80 percent of the state’s adult population was in favor of the legal use of marijuana, while 45 percent categorically supported recreational legalization.
Behind Alexander’s self-assurance and determination regarding cannabis legalization, there is a long history of failed legislative attempts. The first unsuccessful legalization draft was introduced in the state legislature nearly 10 years ago. Last year, 3 different cannabis drafts couldn’t make it to the committee hearing. Amid all these setbacks, the opinion among decisionmakers is gradually shaping up for the better.
A survey published last month suggested that many lawmakers and prominent individuals from the business sector and academia supported overhauling cannabis laws, including its decriminalization and moving forward with its legalization. The majority of the respondents of the survey supported cannabis reforms because of racial disproportion embedded in the criminalization of the strain. It is a recurring theme in many states that marijuana is deliberately used to persecute the colored community through law enforcement measures.
Besides the growing controversy regarding marijuana legalization, hemp – another cannabis sub-species – has been experiencing a substantial growth in North Carolina. With more than 2,500 acres of hemp fields, the state is, in fact, the national leader in the production of this crop, which is used as a raw material in many different industries.
Anticipating the change in cannabis laws through the state assembly, advocates also got excited and revamped their efforts. As per the executive director of NORML’s North Carolina Chapter, the group has started a letter campaign to reach out to the state lawmakers to persuade them to support the potential cannabis legalization measure. The group has also compiled a list of lawmakers who are already in favor of legalization. The purpose of this effort is to streamline the efforts for making cannabis legalization a reality.
To demonstrate public support for the measure, NORML also plans to hold a cannabis rally in the beginning of 2019. If North Carolina succeeds in legalizing cannabis through the state assembly, it will be the second US state after Vermont to do so.