Randy Voller, who chairs the Democratic Party in the state, was speaking to about 200 marijuana advocates who rallied at the Legislative Building to support making North Carolina the 19th state to legalize medicinal cannabis, reports Michael Biesecker of the Associated Press.
“I would call upon my peers in the Republican Party to unite with the Democrats and do what’s right for North Carolinians and pass this bill,” Voller said. “This is something we can work together on.”Two Democratic lawmakers, Kelly Alexander of Charlotte and Pricey Harrison of Greensboro, filed the Enact Medical Cannabis Act this week. Similar bills have died in committee in the past, but Republican Speaker Thom Tillis claimed he “wouldn’t rule out” a “well-crafted bill” that allowed seriously ill patients to use cannabis.
The Speaker, perhaps scaring himself a little by taking an actual, you know, stand or something, then quickly added that he’d need strong safeguards in place to prevent “widespread availability.”
Supporters pointed out that a January survey from Public Policy Polling showed 58 percent of state residents support legalizing marijuana for medical use. Estimates suggest that North Carolina would earn as much as $250 million a year from sales taxes and licensing fees on medicinal cannabis.
Patients from across the state — some in wheelchairs, and many identifying themselves as military veterans — came to the Legislature on Tuesday to support medical marijuana.“This is a nonpartisan issue,” said Perry Parks of Rockingham, N.C., president of the North Carolina Cannabis Patients’ Network. “Sickness affects everybody.”
Supporters of the bill were encouraged by sponsor Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) to go door to door in the Legislative Building, asking lawmakers to get the bill out of the House Rules Committee, where it is currently stuck.
“It’s like a black hole,” Alexander said. “Light goes in and nothing comes out.
“Let them know you are voters and you would like a hearing on this bill,” he said.