Legalizing Medical Cannabis!
Over the last few years there have been an increasing numbers of scientific studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of cannabis (marijuana) in treating a number of different medical conditions. This includes: relief from acute and/or chronic pain, PTSD, epilepsy, nausea, anorexia, Alzeimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, and even cancer. As a result, as of July, 2019, 33 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Sadly, North Carolina is not one of them. Why?
Well, public support is not the problem. A 2018 Elon University poll showed that over 80% of North Carolinians believe that medical cannabis ought to be legalized. Some NC Democrats have made proposals for legalization. However, most of these proposals want to highly tax medical cannabis, in order to create another revenue stream for the state. Since when is getting medical treatment a “sin” that warrants imposing “sin taxes” on patients!? While there are a few of my fellow NC Republicans that support medical cannabis, a great number of them irrationally see marijuana as “evil” and want to impose their morality on us. Republicans are supposed to believe in the freedom of the individual, and certainly the freedom to choose one’s own medical treatment should be inviolable. Principles Matter!
- Unlike prescription opioids, cannabis is NOT chemically addictive. While ingesting too much cannabis can cause hallucinogenic effects, it does NOT have fatal side effects. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever overdosed on cannabis. When used under a doctor’s care, it is very safe treatment option. Much more safe than many of the drugs that are legally prescribed today.
- We would have far less of a problem with the Opioid Crisis if we legalized medical cannabis. Many of today’s heroin addicts started out as just ordinary people who were experiencing acute and/or chronic pain. They went to their doctor for pain relief. Non-narcotic pain relievers had little to no effect, and so they were given prescription opioids and got hooked. Once their doctor cut them off from prescription opioids, they turned to the black market. They soon found out that it was much cheaper to buy heroin than to buy pills. And, sadly, a heroin addict was born. If our doctors had an alternative to treat acute and/or chronic pain, then we could stop opioid addiction before it starts. Medical cannabis is that alternative.
- Our veterans risked their life and limb to fight for our freedom. Sadly, many of them returned from battle with PTSD. Cannabis has been proven to be one of the only treatments for PTSD. Since medical cannabis is illegal in this state, our veterans have had to turn to growing their own or buying from a drug dealer. Many of our veterans have been arrested and turned into criminals simply because they wish effective treatent for their PTSD. This is morally unacceptable!
- Hemp and CBD are currently legal in North Carolina. But don’t be confused – hemp and CBD are NOT the same thing as cannabis! Hemp and CBD only contain trace amounts of THC. While these products are good for some mild medical conditions, cannabis has been scientifically proven to be much more effective in treating other medical conditions. Science has explained that the THC in the marijuana plant actually rejuvenates the natural endocannabinoid system in our bodies, and this results in more effective treatments in many cases.
- Some of my fellow Republicans have turned to fear-mongering in order to justify their opposition to legalizing medical cannabis. Somehow they believe that legalizing medical cannabis will result in more school kids obtaining marijuana for recreational use. Seriously!? There is no more risk of that happening then there is for kids taking their parent’s prescription opioids. Another claim is that people who want to use marijuana recreationally will simply make up a medical condition in order to get a prescription. Again, people may try to do this with any prescription medication, and with medications that have far more harmful side effects. The fact is that Republicans, and all Americans, are supposed to believe in one simple principle – we should never punish, or strip the rights of individual people, because of what some other individuals MIGHT do.
- I am often asked about my position on recreational marijuana. For me, this a separate issue. While I do believe that the cause of individual liberty demands that we ultimately legalize recreational marijuana, I do not believe the cause has garnered enough statewide public support at this time. However, I believe that we should currently consider statewide decriminalization of recreational marijuana, and simply impose fines for possession and sale of recreational marijuana. There is no need to imprison people (and spending a lot of taxpayer money in the process) for simply using a product that is no more harmful than alcohol.
What Would I Do About It?
Once I am elected, I will immediately put forth a bill to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina. My bill would contain no “sin taxes” and the decision on when to prescribe medical cannabis would be left fully to the judgement of doctors and their patients. I will not settle for being stonewalled by other NC House Republicans and will take to the airwaves to loudly fight for your right to make your own medical decisions regarding medical cannabis.