Cannabis legalization news has become a fixture in daily mainstream headlines. Hemp legalization rarely gets the same coverage, but it is arguably as important to the legal progression of the plant.
On October 31, a bill allowing for the growth of industrial hemp became law when North Carolina Governor, Pat McCory, failed to exercise his veto power to stop it.
Local farmers were excited about the prospect of a new crop coming to the state since tobacco’s decline in recent years.
“Hemp really gives us a crop during the summertime that is a viable cash crop to us,”
said Lee Edwards of Sugar Hill Farms in Kinston.
“We’re in a perfect geographical location for the production of hemp with our climate.”
Senate Bill 313 states that,
“The General Assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.”
The bill will also establish the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, allowing for the right to,
“Establish procedures for reporting to the Commission … for agricultural or academic research and to collaborate and coordinate research efforts with the appropriate departments or programs of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University.”
Additionally, the state is also home to one of the country’s only decortication plants, a facility that processes hemp to sell to textile companies and other manufacturers. The facility is located in Spring Hope and will bring over 200 jobs to the area.
Lawmakers in North Carolina filed a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
A complete turnaround from the old bill, the new legislation, “North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act,” would allow all forms of marijuana consumption to treat illnesses, including smoking dried plant material.
Similar to many other states, residents who met the qualifying health requirements would be given a state issued identification card allowing them to purchase and possess medical marijuana. This legislation also establishes a regulatory body to oversee the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators, producers and retailers. Once the retailers are up and running, registered patients would be permitted to purchase all forms of medical marijuana from a medical dispensary.
In July of 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law allows the use of cannabinoid oil to treat specific seizure disorders. The bill is extremely narrow – only available to patients in clinical trials.
Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have been pushing for changes to the bill since it passed, citing it’s restrictive nature.
Legislators in Iowa and Kentucky have been scrutinized recently for approving similarly limited and restrictive medical marijuana laws because they do not allow patients safe access to the medicine. Possession of the cannabinoid oil is legal for patients residing in these states who suffer from very specific forms of epilepsy, but these laws do not establish a legal system for producing or distributing the oil to these patients. This means that they are still forced to break the law by either carrying the medicine across state lines or risking growing and producing the oil themselves at home in order to legally possess it.
Details of this bill and which lawmakers are behind are still developing, we’ll update this post as information becomes available.
Libertarian candidate running for United States Senator in North Carolina, Sean Haugh, has built his campaign on being a normal guy who drinks craft beer in a state where craft beer is king. Now, after an interview with Bills and Brews, he is also known as the normal guy running for Senate who knows, first hand, about the medical benefits of smoking marijuana.
When asked during the interview if he has smoked pot during the campaign, Haugh responded,
“I actually do. This is the first time I’ve ever admitted it to anybody, but this is the first time anybody’s ever asked me directly.”
Just as other members of the libertarian party, Haugh believes all drugs should be legal in the United States. Not because he supports anyone doing them, but because if all drugs were legal, people with addiction problems would be more likely to seek treatment. His point is that the war on drugs has forced drug usage underground where people are not comfortable asking for help because of fear of prosecution.
During the interview he also referred to his decision to run for Senate as being an act of conscience, inspired by the fact that he wants to be able to vote for something other than more war and more debt. He wants to fill that void for other voters who want the same.
Do you want to know more about where Haugh stands on other topics? He has a series of campaign video advertisements, all of which depict him as a normal, every-day, average American man, where during a two to three minute time frame he gives his opinion on a selected topic. In all videos, he is wearing a t-shirt and casually discussing his views while sipping on a beer in his basement.
Watch Haugh’s video, below, where he shares more about his opinion on why the war on drugs has failed.