Lawmakers in the Tar Heel State don’t believe in access to medical marijuana. In fact, members of the state House Judiciary Committee are so vehemently opposed to the idea that they won’t allow other legislators to even debate the issue.
On Wednesday, House Judiciary members voted unanimously to kill proposed legislation, HB 78: The Enact Medical Cannabis Act. The measure – which was supported by some 70 percent of the state’s population, according to a January 2015 Public Policy Polling survey – would have allowed for qualified patients to grow personal use supplies of cannabis or to obtain it from a state-licensed dispensary.
But such public support apparently means little to state legislators, who elected not only to reject the measure but also took the unusual action of blocking members of the General Assembly from considering any other separate measure that might seek to address the issue. And they did so without ever once publicly debating the merits of the bill.
“No lawmakers on the committee spoke for or against the bill during the meeting,” local station WRAL reported. “Rather, they simply voted and quickly left the room.”
Under state legislative rules, lawmakers cannot revisit the issue until 2017.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Tar Heel lawmakers have gone out of their way to quash the medical cannabis debate. In 2013, members of the GOP-controlled House Rules Committee moved to kill a similar proposal after complaining that too many of their constituents were contacting them and asking them to support the measure.
“We did it to be done with it, so people could move on for the session,” Republican Paul Stam stated at the time, adding that he felt lawmakers were being “harassed” with phone calls and emails in support of medical marijuana reform.