Yo, what’s up? My name is Dan and I’m here to tell you about some big news coming out of North Carolina. Seven Democratic lawmakers in the state are pushing for a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis and wipe out past marijuana-related offenses. You heard that right, folks – legal weed could be coming to NC.
The bill was introduced last week in the state Senate, and it’s not the only proposal on the table. There’s another one that would legalize medical cannabis, too. But let’s focus on the recreational side of things for now.
If this bill passes, anyone 21 or older would be able to buy and use marijuana legally. Of course, there’s a catch – taxes. The state would slap a 20% tax on all pot sales, and local governments could add another 3% tax on top of that. But don’t worry, the money isn’t just going into some politician’s pocket.
According to WSOC, a local news station, the tax revenue would be divided up like this: 25% to a Community Reinvestment and Repair Fund created by the bill; 10% to a Social Equity Fund created by the bill; 3% to a Cannabis Education and Technical Assistance Fund created by the bill; 7% to the Department of Health and Human Services for evidence-based, voluntary programs for substance abuse treatment or prevention; 2% to the DHHS for a public education campaign for youth and adults about the health and safety risks of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and other substances, including driving while impaired; 2% to the DHHS for cannabis research; up to 1% to the Department of Public Safety for advanced impaired driving enforcement and drug recognition training. The rest goes into the general fund.
But wait, there’s more! The bill also includes a provision to expunge previous marijuana convictions from people’s records. If you got busted for weed in the past and it’s now legal under this bill, your record would be wiped clean.
North Carolina is one of the few states left where both medical and recreational marijuana are still illegal. But that could be changing soon. Last month, the state Senate approved a bill that would allow medical cannabis treatment for people with conditions like cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and more.
Even Governor Roy Cooper has been pushing for cannabis reform in NC. In fact, he called for the decriminalization of marijuana last year after President Biden pardoned some people with federal marijuana convictions.
“Conviction of simple possession can mar people’s records for life and maybe even prevent them from getting a job,” Cooper said at the time. “North Carolina should take steps to end this stigma.”
Biden himself has also been calling for changes to drug laws at the federal level. He’s made it clear that he doesn’t think anyone should be locked up just for using or possessing marijuana.
“Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit,” Biden said. “Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”
Right now, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, which means it’s considered one of the most dangerous substances out there – on par with heroin and LSD. That’s a pretty ridiculous classification if you ask me.
Anyway, back to North Carolina. It’s still early days for this bill, but it’s a step in the right direction. If it passes, it could bring in some much-needed revenue for the state and give people more freedom to make their own choices about what they put in their bodies. Plus, it would finally give some justice to folks who were punished for something that shouldn’t have been illegal in the first place.
That’s all for now. Keep your fingers crossed and your eyes on the news – we’ll be sure to keep you updated on any developments in the fight for legal weed in North Carolina. Peace out.