My Turn: Kudos for signing marijuana oil bill into law - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Kudos for signing marijuana oil bill into law

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Any regular follower of this segment knows I tend to express frustration from time to time with our elected leaders. Many times they let petty squabbles get in the way of the important stuff.

But today I have kudos. Our leaders got it right this time and it's a great example of how politicians can work together to make a difference.

You might have missed the bill signing last week at the state capitol with Governor Pat McCrory and families of children with epilepsy.

Researchers have found the CBD oils in hemp can help children suffering from epilepsy. You might have heard about this bill, because it's connected with medical marijuana. This is not a bill that will legalize the use of marijuana in North Carolina. It's very specific for this treatment and it does not give the person a "high" in the process.

Lawmakers recognized this and moved quickly to pass this bill.

We featured a Wilmington family going through this scenario earlier this year. They actually moved to Colorado to be able to provide the treatments for their daughter.

They may be able to move back home now. And it's due, in part, to the collaboration of our lawmakers to recognize a problem and work together to make a difference.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at yourturn@wect.com.


 

Emailed comments from viewers:

 I am sending major kudos to Raleigh as well.  The Hemp oil bill is a step in the right direction for the right reasons, now we as the people of this state need to start pushing medicinal Marijuana and get a bill through that makes it legal.  The plant  does so much more than help children with epilepsy, it can help with insomnia, glaucoma, possibly prevent and cure cancer.  But until at least medicinal is made legal we will never know because it will not legal to research it.  But let me take this one step further than medicinal, lets go ahead and push for recreational use legal with the same or similar restrictions as alcohol.  Just take a look at Colorado as an example, the state has already collected over TEN MILLION in taxes, let me say that again over TEN MILLION in taxes!!  Revenue than can be put towards our schools to better our educational standard, revenue that can pull this state out of the red for the first time in years.  For all those that may be against this idea let me point out that alcohol is already legal in this state along with tobacco products, ask yourselves would this be any different.  No one would be forced to partake in marijuana, no one has been forced to drink or use tobacco products, everyone has a choice and this would be no different but it would be a good way to save money in the law enforcement arena as well as the tax revenue that I mentioned before.  Oh I did forget to mention that the crime rate would more than likely drop because legal products tend to run the criminal element out of business.  Thank you for your time with this

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I have taught criminal justice and public policy courses for over 25 years. Given my interest in cannabis legalization and medical marijuana policy, I viewed your recent MyTurn segment with interest. 

While this law may be an example of politicians working together, the end result falls short. Legislators were able to accomplish this task by focusing on a very narrow law - out of step with the country's move toward legalization for recreational use and broader acceptance (and study) of medical marijuana. 

As discussed here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/01/21/3552410/poll-finds-growing-support-for.html, NC residents strongly support medical marijuana. Voters are also moving toward legalization for responsible use by adults. The poll also indicates NC voters recognize cannabis as a safer choice than alcohol. Hemp farming, with the potential to bring millions of dollars into an agricultural state such as NC, also receives strong support. 

A 2013 report by the ACLU (https://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/war-marijuana-black-and-white-report) indicates North Carolina law enforcement made 20,983 marijuana arrests in 2010 – the 10th most in the nation. Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 53.6 percent of all drug arrests in North Carolina in 2010, at the cost of over $55,000,000 to NC taxpayers.

While a functioning legislature could have taken the opportunity to bring policy in line with public opinion, this one passed a medical marijuana law that received an F in a report published by Americans for Safe Access: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/americansforsafeaccess/pages/121/attachments/original/1404758792/ASA_Medical_Marijuana_Access_in_the_US.pdf?1404758792

As indicated in this report, medical marijuana laws vary widely from one state to another. Many are seriously flawed, including laws that allow medical cannabis without creating an effective means of access. As noted in this state-by-state comparison (released yesterday), the NC law requires that access to medical cannabis products is to be only through a registered caregiver who must be a parent, guardian, or legal custodian. The CBD oil must be obtained in a state with reciprocity to purchase medical cannabis products. However, most medical cannabis jurisdictions that honor reciprocity for other state registration cards do not allow patient/caregivers from out of state to purchase any medical cannabis products.

While it would be nice to imagine the current Legislature and Governor are capable of working together, this particular effort is not a good example. Painting failure as success also prevents an honest examination of a dysfunctional legislature. 

I appreciate your efforts and often agree with your position. However, in this case I hope reactions such as mine will encourage a more critical examination.

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