Bill legalizing medical marijuana surfaces in NC General Assembly

In a former bus barn near Denver, marijuana plants live their lives on camera, part of an intense seed-to-sale scrutiny that distinguishes Colorado's medical-marijuana industry. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.
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Note: By the time this article ran, the NC General Assembly gave the legislation an “unfavorable report.” This means that similar legislation will be marked as being “unfavorable” and this will be made known to the representatives by the clerk and allows them the opportunity to vote to accept the report and kill the bill. This makes it unlikely for any further medical marijuana legislation to be considered in this legislative session.

It’s a form of treatment that people have been using for centuries, and a bill was recently filed to legalize its use as medical treatment in North Carolina.

That remedy is marijuana.

Earlier this month, N.C. Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, presented a bill that would protect “qualified patients” from prosecution if they were in possession of prescribed medicinal marijuana. Federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, but states are not required enforce it.

If the bill passes, students at North Carolina colleges, including Elon, may still face consequences if found in possession of medical marijuana.

“Based on the information I have received from universities in states that have legalized marijuana, universities are still required to comply with federal guidelines,” said Whitney Gregory, director of student conduct at Elon. “This means any possession or use of substances considered illegal under federal law would be prohibited on campus.”

Medical marijuana is currently illegal in North Carolina, but the bill argues legalization might promote the welfare of citizens with cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and other diagnoses.

“Modern medical research has discovered beneficial uses for cannabis in treating or alleviating pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions,” the bill says.

Alexander proposed a similar bill in 2011, and in 2008 a House joint resolution to investigate medical marijuana was supported by former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who came to speak to the N.C. General Assembly. None of the bills passed.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found 58 percent of state residents support the legalization of medical marijuana, but opponents of the bill fear it will increase recreational use and perhaps lead to full legalization. Elon’s campus seems to be similarly split.

“Some people need it and it’s necessary,” said sophomore Courtney Vaughn. “Marijuana has only negative connotations with it. It’s time that this country realizes that it’s not only negative and it’s necessary for some people.”

But freshman Casey Briglia said medical marijuana might do more harm than good.

“I don’t think it should be legalized because I think it would be abused,” she said.

In other states, some college students have found pain relief through medical marijuana. Igor Camilo, a student at Los Angeles City College in California, where medicinal cannabis is legal, uses the drug to treat chronic neck pain.

“When I don’t use medical marijuana, I have to go through the day very uncomfortably; often moving or standing in certain positions or directions is incredibly difficult,” Camilo said. “I often can’t sleep due to the discomfort with out the marijuana.”

Medicinal marijuana is currently legal in 18 states, and in 2012, Washington and Colorado both made possession of an ounce of marijuana legal for anyone 21 and older.

The Obama administration has said that it will not target medical marijuana dispensaries in states where they are legal, but federal officials have shut down cannabis pharmacies in states including Washington, Colorado and California, proving the controversial nature of the treatment.

Still, many dispensaries thrive nationwide.

“In California, there are doctors and offices who specialize in evaluating patients and giving medical marijuana recommendations,” Camilo said. “I went in to one, and after filling out some basic forms, I met with a physician who talked with me about the specifics of my condition he determined that I was a person who could benefit from medical marijuana and gave me my recommendation.”

But some fear “qualified patients” able to purchase medical marijuana may abuse their privileges.

“I feel like what would happen with prescription pills would happen with weed,” said freshman Stephen Harris. “People buy prescription pills and sell them to other people.”

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  • ralph nader

    Legalize Nature!!!!

    • Joey Carlton

      very much so, marijuana is a simple plant. the country wont legalize it yet cuz they cant understand that hey maybe we can climb out of our debt with this.

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  • I40

    Wasn’t this bill killed by an unfavorable report from Representative Stam and the House Rules Committee last week? In previous years they simply ignored it… this time around too much of their electorate was “harassing” them.
    Give your local GOP a call if you support this movement, tell them they can say they did it for the farmers.

    • Justin George

      I shouldn’t laugh, but it is ironic that you told people to call their representatives because that is exactly what they did and it somehow turned against them. They quickly closed the debate because…

      —According to Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake), lawmakers we’re being “harassed” with phone calls and emails from citizens asking to advance the medical marijuana legislation.

      “We did it to be done with it, so people could move on for the session,” said Rep. Stam.—

      • Zach

        That’s why we keep “harassing” them until the North Carolina people get what we want. This country and state is a democracy, not a dictatorship where we ask for something and out lawmakers just tells us no like we’re some kids begging their parents for candy in a grocery store.

        It’s not even about the bill now, it’s about our rights as Americans to take vote on what we think is good for our own state. Not some asshole behind a desk getting annoyed by what the people want.

  • nccitizen

    The Bill was killed… Rep Paul Stam did say he got soo many phone calls and emails “harassing” them in support of the bill. If you disagree give him a call! Rep. Paul Stam public offical 919-733-2962

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    how can it be thrown out without even a vote. I WANT TO SEE WHO VOTED FOR AND AGAINST IT SO i WILL KNOW HOW TO VOTE IN 2014

    • Eli Justman

      It looks like the committee considering it recommended against its passage. Your best bet in supporting any bill before this happens is to arrange to show support during the committee hearings, and to testify before the committee if you are permitted to under your state’s law.

    • Logan G.

      It’s stupid to base your votes off of a topic as insignificant as marijuana legalization.

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  • PhilDeBowl

    Legalize home growing,regulate and tax commercial sales.

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  • White Widow 07

    It is a vegetable that has properties our bodies need. The raw juice eliminates the need for pain meds and NO HIGH!!

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  • workingpoor

    Don’t forget to vote next election. If you want medical marijuana in NC vote for reps who will do what you want not what they want. Follow the money find out who is receiving money from the “prison lobby”. You do not have the right to complainif you do not vote and become a part of the process.

  • Jose

    North Carolina should be renamed to North Communism.

    • Amy

      Hahah~ I like that.

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  • malcolmkyle

    The following text is taken directly from the US government’s National Cancer Institute website:


    One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

    Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.

    In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.

    There is far more there on anti-tumor effects but I’m limited here due to commenting restrictions.


    In addition, both plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids have been studied for anti- inflammatory effects. A mouse study demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoid system signaling is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation. As a result, a hypothesis that phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids may be useful in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer has been developed.


    Another study has shown delta-9-THC is a potent and selective antiviral agent against Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8. The researchers concluded that additional studies on cannabinoids and herpesviruses are warranted, as they may lead to the development of drugs that inhibit the reactivation of these oncogenic viruses. Subsequently, another group of investigators reported increased efficiency of KSHV infection of human dermal microvascular epithelial cells in the presence of low doses of delta-9-THC.


    Many animal studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite in mice. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.


    The understanding of the mechanism of cannabinoid-induced analgesia has been increased through the study of cannabinoid receptors (endocannabinoids), and synthetic agonists and antagonists. The CB1 receptor is found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals. Similar to opioid receptors, increased levels of the CB1 receptor are found in sections of the brain that regulate nociceptive processing. CB2 receptors, located predominantly in peripheral tissue, exist at very low levels in the CNS. With the development of receptor-specific antagonists, much additional information about the roles of the receptors and the endogenous cannabinoids in the modulation of pain has also been obtained.

    Cannabinoids may also contribute to pain modulation through an anti-inflammatory mechanism; a CB2 effect with cannabinoids acting on mast cell receptors to attenuate the release of inflammatory agents, such as histamine and serotonin, and on keratinocytes to enhance the release of analgesic opioids.

  • Billie

    Who are they kidding! People do and always will use weed. Same as they did during the prohibition of alcohol. I have seen alcohol destroy more lives than weed.

    • Logan

      Did you read the article? It’s about medical marijuana…

  • Jose

    We need a way to keep blacks in a permanent underclass by attaching marijuana charges to their records. All it takes is to throw some marijuana seeds in your black neighbor’s back yard during rainy season and you can have their house confiscated. Legalizing marijuana will destroy everything.

    • Immigre

      Yeah and then we can work on the Mexicans

      • Jose

        haha, that was already done a long time ago.

        • SC

          Didn’t work they still here, go back to Mexico

          • Jose

            And it’s not going to, besides the part of the US where I live will belong to Mexico soon.

          • Amy

            But isn’t America made up of immigrants? Only people who were really native here are the native Americans, if you make mexicans go back, might as well send English, Germans, etc

  • flowerfairybird

    This state is NOT a Democracy anymore. Some Rep. Got phone calls because this is What the People want and they DO NOT WANT IT because they SOLD OUT to the MONEY. OUR State Government Representatives are suppose to protect individual citizens from the Powerful who take advantage and in slave Individuals with INJUSTICE. The Whole Purpose of Government is to Protect us from each other. They have trashed the Constitution! These Politicians go into public service to serve and protect EACH and EVERY citizen and then they sell out to Corporate money and agendas. So when they get voted out they can buy a home in a gated community and never have to mingle with the Riff raff on the streets again. They got their booze and Xanax or they are slinging their holier than thou I don’t do anything but what my Doc gives me for pain. Those Docs are the pushers if you ask me, and they like keeping cannabis illegal. Keeps them in business. And, It isn’t called the gateway drug for nothing. It is the gateway to introduce YOUR Teenager to Mr. Street Drug pusher. That includes YOUR teenager Mr. Doctor and Mr. Representative. They have no Respect for you because YOU LIE! Cannabis Is HARMLESS. NO Lasting negative psychological affects at all. If someone has psych problems and uses it, it is because they ALREADY had them and it helps. It doesn’t cause people to lie and steal. If someone used it and does that it is most likely because they are also using something else like Alcohol or because they have role models like the ones we have in our legislature. I am so sick of hearing, “well we already have one “Bad” substance legal it will just be worse to make another one legal.” That is PURE IGNORANCE. Next they will all want to make Everything illegal. Get sick. Just suffer. Anything else is IMMORAL and will ruin Families and children. BS! Just turn on the TV. THAT’S what is Corrupting your Kids. That and a Government BUILT ON LIES!!!!

  • Kevin Rochelle

    Kick out the GOP!

  • Justin Brochure

    Please keep in mind your in the heart of the bible belt. If it’s bad for your it’s God if it’s good for your it’s the Devil.

  • Joe Dohn

    I can’t believe it is not legal already.

  • Joey Carlton

    who would want to buy bud from a dispensary and then sale it on the black market? they would be losing money instead of making money. SMDH

  • Stylezzp26 .


  • Joe

    Not completely legalizing it is total bs. I’m on so many medications for my t.b.i. And they hardly work. They actually make me feel worse. I’ve been dealing with this for over 11 years now. Honestly I don’t know how I made it this far. I always feel like any day might be my last. I can’t even concentrate or hold a conversation more than half the time. And if I get sent to jail for using weed to alleviate my pain I will not make it because I wouldn’t be able to have my rx pills handy, and I would need to be in protective custody because there’s so man fights in jail that if I get hit in the head even one time I could die. And they’re not actually going to put me in pc because I will be a slave to the state seeing as how I would be labeled a criminal because I went to jail. The whole thing is stupid. The ONLY bad thing that comes from weed might be if you were allergic to it. Aside from that there is NOTHING wrong/bad about weed. And I’ve never met anyone who was allergic to it. If you were allergic to it and had a medical condition, such as mine, that would probably be the worst way things could work out for you. I don’t know what else to say about being allergic to it. If you actually are, I’m sorry… And who in the hell do these people think they are by saying that it would be abused? The only way it would be abused is if you actually were selling your rx weed to other people for money. But that’s a whole different ball game. But for people such as myself, all I have to say is, why in the hell would you want to sell it? Granted, lots of people have money problems, but that’s o excuse? Why would anyone who actually needs it sell it? They wouldn’t. They would keep as much of it to themselves for the disabilities as they could.

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