NC lawmakers have passed a bill to legalize the possession and cultivation of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the governor has promised to sign it into law.
But there’s one problem: the legislature isn’t even voting on it.
The National Conference of State Legislatures, or NCSL, is holding its annual conference on Friday and will likely be dominated by the issue.
Some of the most important issues in the state are expected to be discussed, including how the legislature should be allowed to set a limit on the number of dispensaries, how to handle lawsuits, how much revenue should go toward building new facilities, and how to distribute pot among low-income people.
“This is really important to the future of North Carolina,” said Chris Hartwig, an attorney with the North Carolina ACLU.
“The Legislature should vote on it, and if they don’t, the governor should sign it.
We’re going to be watching this closely.”
North Carolina legalized recreational marijuana last year, and it has a number of notable things going for it.
It has a high percentage of working age residents, and residents can buy up to a half-ounce of pot at a time.
The state’s first recreational marijuana dispensary opened in December 2018.
The new law also allowed people over the age of 21 to grow up to six plants.
North Carolina’s state legislature is also looking at a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.
But there are some major obstacles in the way of getting this bill to the desk of the governor.
“We’ve been trying to get this bill passed for three years, but I think the governor will sign it if we get a vote on Tuesday,” said Hartwig.
“I think there’s a lot of resistance.”
“I’m worried about it because of the stigma that people have about it,” said Jennifer Johnson, a mother of two who lives in Greensboro.
“People think it’s a gateway drug.”
She said that if North Carolina is to truly legalize recreational weed, she would rather see the issue dealt with in the legislature rather than the governor’s office.
One way the governor could try to deal with the issue is by expanding on existing laws that allow businesses to sell marijuana to adults.
Currently, people can buy and consume marijuana for recreational purposes through their local city or county.
If North Carolina were to legalize, the state would be able to do the same thing, which could allow businesses in the greater Charlotte area to sell weed to anyone 21 or older.
“I would love to see the governor take that and extend it to the whole state,” said Johnson.
“The governor’s been pretty open about it in the past,” Hartwig said.
“But we’re in a position where we can’t move forward without a vote in the North Carolinas Senate.
So it will be up to the legislature to come up with a bill that the governor can sign into law.”