Guest Writer – How Can We Get Cannabis Legalized In NC?

Guest writer Jesse Lawson is a 24-year-old cannabis enthusiast fighting prohibition with knowledge and writing. From smoking to reform, he finds every aspect of the canna-culture interesting. Guest writer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Charlotte NORML or National NORML.  

Your comments are welcome.

How Can We Get Cannabis Legalized In NC?

In 2016, publisher Motley Fool made the claim that there were 14 states that may never legalize cannabis. Their list included both Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana, and a few others. The interesting thing about these states is that the vast majority of adults in those states want cannabis legalized, at least medicinally. The apprehension of red states to shift in view toward legalization is unrivaled.

In the time since Motley Fool made that prediction, both Louisiana and West Virginia have taken steps to implement a medicinal program. Clearly there is a glimmer of hope for us in North Carolina, despite staunch opposition in the General Assembly. The slow moving Canna-Climate is thanks mainly to the lack of a citizen operated legislative process. None of the states mentioned above, including North Carolina have an initiative and referendum process for bringing vital reform to our archaic system.

The referendum system encourages voters themselves to develop and push constitutional amendments and bring upon new statutes. Where we currently have to petition lawmakers to propose new bills and legislation today in North Carolina, voters in states like California and Colorado can do it themselves, and they did. In fact, this is the trend in most legalized states. Nearly every single state that has legalized cannabis either for recreation or medicine allow voter initiated state statutes. The key difference between the two systems is when (and whether) the voter is allowed to cast a ballot. In North Carolina we must wait for the state legislature to decide whether to take up the issue. There have been only a few instances when NC voters would have been offered the option to vote on medical marijuana (H1383 – 2009; H1161 – 2014; H78 – 2015; HB 185 – 2017). This impedes the democratic process in a monumental way.

As voters we must show our support for “green” values. We must search in ourselves for the reasons we want cannabis legalized, and project them for the lawmakers to see, and hear. Until they are forced to look the issue of prohibition in the eyes, we will not take another step forward. This is an election year – now is the time to let your vote be your voice. We can send “green” legislators to Raleigh. We will need to know who currently supports Reform of Marijuana Laws and who doesn’t. If your legislator is willing to champion a decriminalization or medical marijuana bill, you need to ‘champion’ them with your financial or hands-on help. If not, you should find out whether their opponent does – some canna-activists have made the choice to run for office.

Show support to your local cannabis activist groups, call legislators and politicians in your district! CBD extracts were legalized here for patients with intractable epilepsy, thanks to the involvement of people just like you who stood up and told their stories. Laws are made on an emotional level, as well as a “rational” level. Your story of how cannabis could help you is invaluable in our fight towards relief from a partisan, and obsolescent legislative process. Come show your support and let your words create reform at the next Charlotte NORML meeting, listed on the website!

Thank you for reading! And stay medicated!

Jesse Lawson

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