“What we’re saying is that it is a product that can be and should be regulated and taxed in a way similar to how we handle alcohol,” West said.
To West, the legalization of marijuana makes sense.
“We’re talking billions and billions of dollars that are currently on an underground market with nobody checking IDs, nobody verifying the product purity, or that it’s free of contaminants,” West said.
In North Carolina, Ignacio Almazan, Raleigh chapter coordinator of N.C. Normal, said the Tar Heel State is missing out on $250 million in tax revenue a year.
“Just look at Colorado. They’re pulling in money left and right,” Almazan said.
Some North Carolina lawmakers believe the legalization of marijuana is too dangerous.
“Just because people are doing it and violating the law, doesn’t mean we should make something legal,” said Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland).
Moore believes marijuana is a gateway drug that will lead to other addictions.
“If we’re really trying to deal with the issue of substance abuse, the answer is probably not in expanding the drugs that are available,” Moore said.
In the past, a handful of lawmakers have tried passing bills that would legalize recreational or medical marijuana but have been voted down every time.
But that may change in the short session that began May 14. Rep. Pat McElraft (R-Carteret, Jones) will soon introduce a bill that would allow CBD oil in North Carolina for children.
CBD oil is an extract from the marijuana plant that’s low on THC and high on CBD, and it’s believed to reduce seizures in epileptic children. Several Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), are on board.
Moore said this bill is not a broad medical marijuana bill but rather one that will help children.
As for Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg), Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) and Rep. David R. Lewis (R-Harnett), in the past they have introduced bills to reconfigure North Carolina's medical marijuana laws.
Most recently on April 11, 2013, the representatives introduced bill H941 that would require the Legislative Research Commission to study medical marijuana related issues such as distribution and possible revenue.
Alexander said he plans on reintroducing a similar bill, in the short session that started May 14, that would allow for a broader medical marijuana bill.
Saturday, August 30 2014 3:40 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:40:37 GMT
The unmistakable signs of healing are beginning to dot Ferguson, even the small area of this St. Louis-area suburb that was the center of attention for three weeks. More >>
The unmistakable signs of healing are beginning to dot Ferguson, even the small area of this St. Louis-area suburb that was the center of attention for three weeks. But those in the community know they've got a long...More >>