NC Support for Medical Marijuana at All Time High – 2016

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Almost 3 in 4 North Carolinians support doctors’ rights to recommend medical marijuana to patients in need.

According to an April 2016 Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina 74% of the state is now in favor of allowing doctors to discuss medical marijuana as a source of treatment.

The poll was conducted April 22, 2016 and surveyed 960 North Carolina voters regarding their views on cannabis legalization. The results showed that 18% of the state is against giving doctors the right to recommend medical marijuana and 8% are still undecided.

Those randomly selected for the survey were asked, “Do you think doctors should be allowed to recommend marijuana for medical use, or not?”

The survey was conducted the weekend before House Bill 983, titled “Legalize and Tax Medical Marijuana“, was introduced. If passed, the new law would protect people with severe diseases and specific medical conditions from arrest and prosecution. The bill also sets up guidelines for paying taxes on marijuana as a function of THC content.

Federally, cannabis has been a Schedule I controlled substance since 1970. Schedule I substances are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

Fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32% of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do. There have been no deaths from marijuana overdose or chronic use according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Cancer Institute (the U.S. government’s branch of cancer research) now recognizes marijuana has cancer cell killing properties.

HB 983 – North Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Bill (2016)

North Carolina’s newest Medical Marijuana bill is making its way through House subcommittees. It is titled “Legalize and Tax Medical Marijuana”.

On April 26, 2016 Rep. Kelly Alexander introduced HB 983. This bill, if passed, would make it legal for patients to possess marijuana for personal use. This bill currently has a total of 12 sponsors – 11 Democrats and one Republican.

This year’s medical marijuana bill protects patients who are in possession of cannabis. Medical marijuana would be legal to have if a patient has documentation from a licensed physician and has paid all applicable taxes.

There are no provisions for growing or buying medical marijuana from a dispensary with this bill.

Here are the basics of HB 983…

Qualifying Criteria to possess marijuana with THC legally in North Carolina:

  • Patient must be diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness
  • Patients must have a physician’s written recommendation for the patient to use cannabis to treat the disease’s underlying symptoms
  • Patients must purchase a Marijuana Tax Stamp from the NC Department of Revenue (Note: Marijuana tax stamps are already available for purchase today.)
  • Marijuana must only be for the patient’s personal use.
  • No more than three ounces of marijuana may be possessed at a given time.


Taxation Rates

  • Marijuana stalks and stems are taxed at a rate of $8.00 per ounce
  • Plus an additional…
    • $7.08 per ounce, if the marijuana is less than 5% THC by weight
    • $14.15 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 5% and 10% THC
    • $21.24 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 10% and 15% THC
    • $28.32 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 15% and 20% THC
    • $35.40 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 20% and 25% THC
    • $42.48 per ounce, if the marijuana is great than 25% THC.

According to an April, 2016 Public Policy Polling survey, 74% of North Carolinians support a doctor’s right to recommend marijuana to patients who may benefit from the plant.

Everyone in North Carolina who has a personal need for medical cannabis or knows someone who has benefited from treating their conditions with cannabis are highly encouraged to contact their representatives. Medical marijuana bills have not gained much traction in the North Carolina General Assembly. Through polling of representatives, the reason all previous medical marijuana bills have failed is largely due to the fact that our legislators do not know cannabis is safe and effective. They need to be informed.

Please contact your representative to encourage him or her to co-sponsor HB 983. If you don’t know who your representative is, read this article….


If you already know who represents you in state congress, the following is a guide for reaching out and encouraging them to support this bill.
If you do not agree with the laws, do your part to change them.

Industrial Hemp now Legal in North Carolina


North Carolina passed a law allowing for the regulated cultivation of industrial hemp October 31, 2015. Once a commission created by SB313 establishes the guidelines for the hemp program, landowners will be allowed to produce and harvest cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC. (THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that creates mild euphoria.) The NC Department of Agriculture will be responsible for issuing licenses and distributing seeds to registered farmers. The law does not dictate a deadline for the commission to implement the industrial hemp program.

In the House, Republicans Dean Arp, Rick Catlin, Jimmy Dixon, Josh Dobson, Pat Hurley, Michele Presnell, and Rena Turner voted against the bill; no Democratic representatives voted No. In the Senate, only Republican Andrew Brock and Democrat Don Davis voted against the bill. The bill became law on October 31, 2015 without the signature of Pat McCrory. Per Governor McCrory:

“After discussion with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, I have decided to allow Senate Bill 313 to become law without my signature. Despite the bill’s good intentions, there are legitimate concerns I would like to address… The legislation tasks a new commission to establish from the ground up a regulatory structure to reintroduce a crop to North Carolina. Although there is a clear intent to ensure this program supports agriculture and research goals, a strong regulatory framework to safeguard against abuse is critical to its success and the safety of North Carolinians.”

Industrial hemp will give North Carolina farmers another valuable cash crop to add to their repertoire, and could replace crops that have lost value in recent years, like tobacco. For those concerned, hemp is very different than marijuana, containing less than 0.3% THC, so it would be impossible to get “high” from industrial hemp. Various parts of the plant can be used in the manufacture of more than 25,000 products. The leaves and flowers can be used to make CBD medicines for patients with intractable epilepsy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and sickle cell disease (in NC, CBD extracts are permitted only for patients with intractable epilepsy). The oil and seeds have high amounts of omega fatty acids, which help improve cholesterol levels and lower the risks of heart disease.

Hemp is a source of very strong natural fiber and highly nutritional seeds. The fiber is used in applications from paper to building products (such as Hempcrete) and the seeds are used for oil production and consumption. The core of the plant is highly absorbent, and can be used to absorb oil spills and to maintain the seals on water, gas and oil drills.

The Bill would set up a Hemp Commission consisting of 5 members. These members include the Commissioner of Agriculture or a designee, an appointed municipal chief of police, an elected sheriff, a faculty member of a state university who teaches Ag science, and a full time farmer with 10 years of experience. The commission will be in charge of setting up tracking and testing procedures and studying marketplace opportunities. Farmers will pay an annual fee of $250 + $2 per acre, with possible incentive provisions for small acreage to promote small farmers. NC State and NC A & T will have research programs since they currently have highly developed agriculture programs.

Hemp, Inc. is currently building a commercial size decortication facility in Spring Hope, NC in Nash County. This is the first of its size in the US and one of 5 in the world. This sets NC up for being a major player in the hemp industry.

NC Senator Report Card – 2015 Medical Marijuana

NC Senator Report Card Updated with votes on Industrial Hemp and amending CBD Oil Bill

NORML of North Carolina - Official Blog

The table below lists all the Senators in the General Assembly in 2015, and how they stand on allowing patients to have access to cannabis based on a doctor’s recommendation.

(Click here to see a report card for the Representatives in the General Assembly.)

Some of these Senators have shared their stance (in varying ways) on allowing doctors to recommend cannabis to patients in need. We have compiled the responses from these Senators and given them a grade.

If your Senator doesn’t have a grade, it means we don’t know how he or she stands on the issue. Please help the cause by calling, writing, emailing, or scheduling a face-to-face meeting today. Let us know what you found by emailing

Don’t know who your Senator is? Read this….

NOTE: Scroll left and right in the embedded table to see the grade, political party, legislator’s name, district…

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NC Representative Report Card – 2015 Medical Marijuana

North Carolina will will hold primaries on March 15, 2016. Candidate Filing Dates are December 1 – December 21, 2015. NC NORML will update this scorecard with information regarding incumbents and challengers. You can help by contacting your representative and their challenger(s) to find out whether s/he will support medical and decriminalization bills if elected, and let us know where they stand. If your representative has been a supporter of medical marijuana, decriminalization, and hemp in the past, be sure to thank her/him, and encourage your friends/family to support them also.

NORML of North Carolina - Official Blog

The table below lists all the representatives in the General Assembly in 2015 and how they stand on allowing patients to have access to cannabis based on a doctor’s recommendation.

(Click here to see a report card for the Senators in the General Assembly.)

Some of these Representatives have shared their stance on allowing doctors to recommend cannabis to patients in need. We have compiled the responses from these representatives and given them a grade.

If your representative doesn’t have a grade, it means we don’t know how he or she stands on the issue. Please help the cause by calling, writing, emailing, or scheduling a face-to-face meeting today. Let us know what you found by emailing

Don’t know who your representative is? Read this….

NOTE: Scroll left and right in the embedded table to see the grade, political party, legislator’s name, district, counties, comments supporting…

View original post 6 more words

NC is a Decrim State – But What Does that REALLY Mean?

In some states and municipalities that have ‘decriminalized’ possession of small amounts of cannabis, the offense is treated as an infraction and people may be given a ticket to pay, just as if they had been caught speeding.

In North Carolina, possession of any amount of cannabis up to 1 ½ ounces is classed as a misdemeanor, and possession of more than 1 ½ ounces is a felony. North Carolina is considered to be a ‘decriminalized’ state because first time offenders possessing ½ ounce or less are subject to a $200 fine and will not serve time, however, the person will still be arrested, and will have a record. Persons in possession of up to 1 ½ ounces may be sentenced to 1 – 45 days jail time and pay a $1000 fine.

For a detailed synopsis of North Carolina law and penalties, see

To learn more about the history of decriminalization (and other cannabis-related legislation) in NC, see

If you do not agree with the prohibition of cannabis and current laws, we ask that you do your part to change them. To learn more about how to change North Carolina’s cannabis laws, see


Thoughts on Being a Cannabis Activist in the Rip Van Winkle State

In 1819, Washington Irving published the story of Rip Van Winkle, a Colonist living in the Catskill Mountains, who was beloved by his fellow villagers for his friendliness towards all, his folksy stories and affection for children and animals. His one fault was his habit of disappearing whenever there was work to be done. While shirking his duties one afternoon, Van Winkle stumbled upon a group of unusual men playing nine-pin in the woods. Van Winkle drank some of their moonshine, and fell into a stupor for 20 years, awakening to find that his wife had died, his children were grown, and even his own dog did not recognize him. At the local tavern he proclaimed himself a loyal subject of the king, only to learn that he had slept through the American Revolution.

During the early 1800’s some saw a metaphor for North Carolina in the Rip Van Winkle story – the state, though filled with great natural resources and potential – seemed mired in the politics of the past. The state’s leaders were against spending tax money on schools, roads, agricultural reforms, or any other form of economic advancement. Thousands left the state seeking opportunity elsewhere; between 1790 and 1860, the state fell from the third most populous state to twelfth. A new constitution was written in 1835, and more progressive policies enacted, but still changes came slowly. Some of us have watched as North Carolina cycled from conservative policies to progressive policies and back within our lifetimes.

Cannabis activists in today’s North Carolina may reasonably feel that the state is in a stupor or caught in a time warp. Popular movies and television shows portray people from all walks of life smoking pot recreationally, vaporizing doctor-recommended medical marijuana, or eating brownies or medicinal medibles, while it seems most of our legislators and many of our friends and neighbors are still watching “Reefer Madness” at the drive-in theater. The national media has finally begun to pay attention to cannabis; Time, Newsweek and National Geographic have all recently published special issues with intelligent and well researched articles on all facets of cannabis. TV and print reporters are asking presidential candidates where they stand, and some candidates are voluntarily offering up their positions and their histories, perhaps knowing that the time has come for a national discussion. Ye Olde local media outlets are filled with mug shots and stories that do nothing to dispel the myths. Our reporters don’t want to ask politicians whether they inhaled or where they stand, and our politicians sure ain’t gonna bring it up themselves.

We hear about referendums in other states to put medical or legal cannabis on the ballot for citizens to vote on, while our state constitution does not provide a means for citizens to put referenda on the ballot. Multiple cities and counties across the country are decriminalizing possession of personal amounts of cannabis, giving tickets rather than arresting those who are caught with amounts from ½ ounce to up to 1 ½ ounces, depending on the local ordinance. North Carolina is a not a home rule state and all changes to the criminal code must be made by the state legislature, thus city council members rebuff citizen efforts to bring up decriminalization.

North Carolina is a very big state, and while there are cities of great size, much of the population lives in the small towns and rural areas – places where the old ways are the best ways, and people who do use cannabis or who see that our current laws need to be changed, feel uncomfortable coming out and speaking out. Even in the cities, there is often a sense of isolation and fear; people may be new to NC, they may hold jobs in sensitive positions, their families may condemn them for coming out. There thousands and even tens of thousands who may support us privately, but are not willing to speak out. We need to find ways to reach them and let them know it is safe to speak and act. We need to find our allies and let them know we have supported them and their causes, and are happy to do so, yet we need them to have our backs as well.

Who is a cannabis activist in North Carolina? We may be proud to fly to fly the Confederate flag or to march carrying Black Lives Matter signs. We may be Southern Baptist, atheist, Catholic, Jewish, or recent converts to the Church of Cannabis. We may have been born and raised in North Carolina to parents who were born and raised in NC as well or we may be transplants from Texas, New Jersey or South America. We may be feeling the Bern/Ready for Hillary or hope that Rand Paul/Donald Trump/Gary Johnson has political solutions. We may be Second Amendment supporters or believe that there must be changes to our gun laws. Even our feelings about cannabis are diverse – some of us are just ready to grow the heck out of hemp or build a Hempcrete home; some of us are 110% on board with cannabis as medicine; some see the War on Drugs is a war on people, and largely a war on minorities; some of us believe the right to consume marijuana as medicine or as euphoriant is a personal and a civil right; and yes, some of us do just want to get high.

We are a diverse and growing movement and have a lot to learn from each other. The key to changing any of our laws is communication. We must listen to multiple points of view to truly understand how to effectively communicate our own. We may not agree with every other cannabis activist, but when we can learn to discuss instead of cuss, our one million voices can be so much more powerful than one voice.

The opinions expressed above are those of Blogger Ann Twitty Caughran, not NC NORML