National News

Asheville leaders back medical marijuana measures

Posted June 28

— Asheville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday night in support of House Bill 185 and Senate Bill 648 and strongly encouraged state lawmakers to legalize the usage of cannabis for medical purposes.

The council voted after hearing from several city residents about the impact the statewide ruling would have on them. Many residents discussed how medical cannabis has helped them or family members with cancer.

One mother spoke about using her life savings to travel to Denver when her son's brain cancer returned after he went through chemotherapy. She said his tumor is now gone and only a small cyst remains.

Another young woman spoke about her conservative upbringing and said medical marijuana was a last resort for her after she dropped to 80 pounds while dealing with Crohn's disease.

Terri Boyd, who has lost several family members to cancer, spoke about how she educates about the benefits of marijuana and hemp.

"I work one on one everyday with patients that are dying because they don't have access to this," said Boyd. "They are suffering. And it's not right. They should be able to have access to this right here where we live."

Regardless of speaker, one theme was constant: residents want Asheville to take the lead in North Carolina.

So far, there has been no movement in the House on the bill, which was introduced in February.

City leaders also moved forward with a multimillion-dollar project in the River Arts District that came up $20 million more than expected. They were able to delay some parts of the project, including miles of greenways and some bike lanes. Organizers will have to go back to the council in 60 days to share revised plans.

Some residents also spoke about decriminalizing possession of marijuana.

Also under discussion was a measure to require Asheville council members to run for office based on the districts in which they live.

House members gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a measure ordering the creation of six single-member electoral districts for the Asheville City Council by this fall. The districts would be used starting in 2019.

City officials said they want Asheville voters to decide to whether or not to make the change from an at-large vote to district system.

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