Cannabis A Big Winner On Election Night. Where Do The Carolinas Stand?
CHARLOTTE, NC – Leading up to election day, there was a lot of talk about “blue wave” or “red wave,” when really it was the “green wave” that swept from nearly coast to coast.
Five states approved some form of adult use or medical marijuana Tuesday night with broad political support.
So how do the Carolinas fit in?
“We saw that Americans across the political divide supported cannabis,” said Steven Hawkins.
He’s the executive director for the Marijuana Policy Project. They lobby and advocate for cannabis across the country.
“The politicians are catching up with their constituents,” said Hawkins.
He says marijuana saw sweeping support from both sides of the aisle.
Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota all legalized the possession of marijuana by adults.
In South Dakota and Mississippi, voters legalized access to medical cannabis.
“Now the legislature has to implement legislation to both tax and regulate cannabis within these state jurisdictions,” said Hawkins.
Despite a 2019 Elon university poll showing 78% of north carolinian respondents support legal medical marijuana, the Carolinas still lag behind.
“People often ask me where do we stand in North Carolina. And honestly, I feel like sometimes, dead last,” said Michael Sims, the owner of Charlotte CBD.
He says hemp and CBD, which is derived from the cannabis plant is legal in the state, but medical or recreational marijuana remains outlawed.
“Any bill related to cannabis put forth in North Carolina ultimately dies a quick death on the republican led senate side,” said Sims.
North Carolina senate republicans have held firm against marijuana legislation. Some stating there needs to be more focus on addiction issues. Others outright oppose it.
Still, Sims says the green wave last night offers some encouragement for people who support legalization.
“Ultimately we’re going to have to deal with this one way or another so we might as well set up a revenue program and a regulation program where we’re not blindsided by this,” said Sims.
The North Carolina legislature once again has three bills in circulation dealing with cannabis.
South Carolina does have bipartisan support for a bill that would legalize medical marijuan. It’s likely to come up for a vote in 2021.