Momentum growing to legalize medical marijuana in NC

Posted March 19, 2015

— About 150 people turned out Thursday to lobby state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana, marking the largest turnout in years. Even supporters of legalization say it's unlikely to happen this year, but they say momentum is growing.

Tammy Tiffany, who hurt her back in an accident four years ago, uses medical marijuana to manage the pain. She said it gave her her life back from prescription drugs.

"I don't want to do the pain pills any more, the opiates, the anti-depressants," Tiffany said. "It's a rabbit hole. When you go down, it's very hard to come back out of, and it can cost you your life."

Helen Monroe, 84, was against marijuana all of her life – until the last few years. Now, she takes cannabis oil for her debilitating arthritis.

"Taking the cannabis relieves the pain, and I can walk," Monroe said. "I no longer ride the cart at the grocery store."

Medical cannabis, or marijuana, is illegal in North Carolina, but a bill in the state House would change that. Under the proposal, users would need a doctor's prescription and a state registration card, and they could buy cannabis only from a state-licensed distributor.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, but in the conservative South, it's an uphill battle.

Last year, approving cannabidiol oil for treatment of seizure disorders in children involved a tough fight in the General Assembly because it is derived from a strain of marijuana.

"I think the public's evolving. I think we'll get there," said Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford, who has sponsored medical marijuana bills for the past 10 years without any success. "We won't get there this year, but it's a grassroots movement building support."

Harrison said lawmakers need to take the politics out of the issue and look at the relief that decriminalizing cannabis could bring to people who need it.

"I wish they would have some compassion for people that do need the medical marijuana and show it," Tiffany said.


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  • Mike C Mar 23, 2015
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    While I for one, will not use marijuana, the state might as well legalize all forms of and sell it. That way the users get their marijuana and the state can get the tax dollars.

  • Joanne Batjer Mar 22, 2015
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    about time

  • Rob Creekmore Mar 21, 2015
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    It will happen but until then I will treat my illness like a free man. No government has the right to tell an adult what they may do or not do in their own home as long as it hurts no one else.

  • Paul Hill Mar 21, 2015
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    Law or no law, every few years I'll get the urge to smoke a joint. So I'll hydroponically grow a primo plant in a bedroom closet. 3-4 ounces of bud last me forever.

  • Floyd Bridges Mar 20, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    I don't have a problem with medical marijuana, but your point is well taken. "150" people is hardly momentum. You're right, this is a non story.

  • David Robinson Mar 20, 2015
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    1.508447304907482e-5 of North Carolinians is momentum?!? Ignoring the lack of any counter-argument in what is therefor not a news article, but a press release, you can get 150 people to support anything. If someone brings pizzas next year and the crowd 'surges' to 300, I imagine we will be presented with an article (correction, another press release) that talks about 'scaled castle walls' and 'breached defenses.'

  • Anthony Snark Mar 20, 2015
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    I would love it if they passed it. The oil might help with my migraines.

  • Ann Caughran Mar 20, 2015
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    Thanks for a even-toned account of this event. We are glad to see some positive media attention. Passage of H78 Enact Medical Cannabis Act would be of benefit to not only the patients, but would provide much needed jobs and revenue for the state of NC. North Carolina farmers need to learn about the benefits of growing industrial hemp as well as cannabis for medical patients. We discussed this with several ag groups group who were lobbying NC legislators on Wednesday.

  • Arch Maker Mar 20, 2015
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    it will take a while in North Carolina - just look at the huge fight in the General Assembly last year over cannabis oil - and Republicans usually support anything with the word "oil" in it!

  • Anthony Snark Mar 20, 2015
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    The south has to be dragged, kicking and screaming out of the backwards past on EVERYTHING!