The daily swirl of political nonsense takes a toll on elected officials. Many lose their inability to step back and see bigger pictures. In North Carolina, the bigger picture of marijuana policy is completely lost to most of those in the General Assembly. Here are some facts:

  • At the national level, nearly two out of three people favor marijuana policy reform (decriminalization, medical marijuana).
  • The majority of the 55 million recreational marijuana users in the U.S. are millennials.
  • Eighty-seven percent of millennials say marijuana is safer than alcohol.

In North Carolina, one newspaper is already focused on "how" marijuana will be made legal, not "if." And one Democratic legislator, Paul Lowe of Forsythe County, has proposed a bill that would decriminalize up to three ounces of pot.

I've often said that whichever political party gets credit for NC marijuana reform will corner the market on millennial voters for a couple of decades, and probably longer. It'll be interesting to see which party decides to capitalize on this policy opportunity.

My view? I'm betting the Republicans step up. They've already glommed on to the craft beer business, trying to claim they're champions of the hipster crowd. Embracing marijuana reform seems like their natural next move. Democrats would have to unite and push hard to own the issue. Plus, they'd need Governor Cooper on board. I don't see him as that kind of risk taker. I hope I'm wrong. I hope elected Democrats will recognize the fundamental unfairness of current marijuana laws and choose an enlightened path forward.

What do you think?



If a bipartisan bill

(a real one, not one token Dem) passed the General Assembly, Roy would get on board.

I'm all for the whole shebang, recreational use and everything else. But the decriminalization piece needs to be pushed (hard), because there are thousands of young (mostly black) people rotting in jails right now. Medical marijuana is also critical, and might be the best way to combat the opioid problem.

Whether those two things eventually lead to complete legalization for recreational use is (to me) beside the point.


NC GOP - are you listening? NC Democrats are you on board? Better yet, how about some bi-partisan action for the patients, veterans and adult consumers of North Carolina? If we let 2019 without ANY form of RML, our state will be on the losing side of history...

Ann Twitty Caughran

State + National reform needed

I hope ALL elected official have the political courage to support reform of marijuana laws.
Prohibition caused the creation of violent drug cartels and gangs, made "criminals" of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and cost billions of dollars for failed "interdiction" efforts that did nothing to decrease demand or usage.
Worst of all, its unwarranted status on Schedule 1 of the CSA stymied research, so the cowards claiming they can't support legalization because there's too little proof of the therapeutic benefits or safety profile of marijuana have no one to blame but themselves.

M Bryan

Thanks for the comment

I hope some elected officials and candidates are paying attention, but they're probably not. Everyone is so busy trying to raise money that they barely do their jobs.