North Carolina Statehouse

Ron Cogswell

North Carolina Decriminalization Legislation Re-Introduced

Despite failing to receive a committee hearing last year, Sen. Paul Lowe has re-introduced cannabis decriminalization legislation to the North Carolina Senate.

Full story after the jump.

Legislation to allow the possession of up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use was re-introduced to the North Carolina state Senate last week, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

A similarly worded bill was introduced during last year’s session but failed to receive a hearing with the state Senate Rules and Operations Committee. The previous version would have set the maximum amount allowed for individual possession at four ounces.

The sponsor of both last year’s bill and the newer version, state Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) said, “There are new legislators with differing outlooks on a lot of legislation being reintroduced, so now let’s see if the legislation gets a different reception.”

The new bill also moves the bar for felony cannabis possession from 1.5 ounces to an entire pound, among other small changes to the criminal structure of cannabis possession.

The bill is Sen. Lowe’s attempt at a near-term solution for restrictive cannabis laws in the state. For instance, North Carolina currently has no medical cannabis program, due largely to the fact that voter ballot initiatives are not possible in the state. Public pressure is building, however, as more and more states relax their cannabis laws and the stigma of prohibition fades.

According to a May 2017 poll by Elon University, 80 percent of North Carolina voters support legalizing medical cannabis.

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