Neither medical nor recreational cannabis is legal in North Carolina. Recent efforts to legalize both have mostly gone cold.
But if a poll released this week is any indication, there is no need to wait.
The latest findings from SurveyUSA showed broad support across bipartisan lines for reform to the state’s cannabis laws.
Seventy-two percent of registered voters in North Carolina said that cannabis for medical use should be made legal in the state, according to the poll, while only 18% said it should remain against the law.
The poll found that medical cannabis has support among 64% of North Carolina Republicans, 75% of Democrats and 78% of Independents.
When it comes to recreational pot use, 57% of North Carolina voters said it should be legal, with only 32% saying it should remain against the law.
Sixty-three percent of Democrats and 60% of Independents expressed support for recreational cannabis use, while Republicans were split on the matter.
Forty-six percent of GOP voters in North Carolina said that recreational pot should be illegal, while 44% said it should remain against the law, according to the poll.
Majorities of every age group in North Carolina expressed support for recreational cannabis––except for voters aged 65 and older, among whom only 37% said it should be legalized.
The poll numbers come at a time when cannabis reform efforts in the Tar Heel State have come to a virtual standstill.
A bill to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina showed some promise last summer when it won approval from the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
The legislation, Senate Bill 711, was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bill Rabon and would have authorized cannabis treatment for patients with various qualifying conditions.
But as local television station WRAL reported this week, it remains “unclear what state lawmakers will do with Senate Bill 711.”
“In August 2021, SB 711 remained in the Rules and Operations of the Senate Standing Committee. Lawmakers could resume consideration of the legislation when they convene on May 18. The legislature is then set to adjourn on June 30,” the station reported.
Per WRAL, SB 711 would authorize physicians in North Carolina to recommend medical cannabis to patients with the following qualifying conditions: Cancer; Epilepsy; HIV/AIDS; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); Crohn’s disease; Sickle cell anemia; Parkinson’s disease; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Multiple sclerosis; Cachexia or wasting syndrome; Severe or persistent nausea “related to end-of-life or hospice care,” or in someone who is bedridden or homebound; a terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months; and any condition when the patient is in hospice care.
In September, local television station WNCN said that the “bill to legalize marijuana for medical use in North Carolina may not get a vote until next year,” with lawmakers saying at the time that “the state budget and the redistricting process have become the primary issues being worked on in the final months of the year.”
“There’s far more moving parts to this thing than I thought there was when we began,” said Democratic state Sen. Paul Lowe, as quoted by WNCN. “We want to make sure we get it right.”
Should the bill ultimately land on the desk of North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, there is reason to believe the Democrat will sign the measure into law.
Last year, as SB 711 was being considered by lawmakers in North Carolina, a spokesman for Cooper said that studies “have shown medical marijuana can offer many benefits to some who suffer from chronic conditions, particularly veterans, and the Governor is encouraged that North Carolina might join the 36 other states that have authorized it for use.”