Are You A NORML Voter? How to Smoke the Vote in 2022


NC NORML is a non-partisan cannabis consumer advocacy organization. Constituent-initiated ballot measures are not legal in NC, therefore our only path to change our marijuana* laws is to vote for candidates who will champion cannabis legalization. Since many candidates/incumbents are reluctant to openly state their positions on legalization, Smoke the Vote is the key to empowering voters to make a fully informed decision at the ballot box in November. 

North Carolina is a “purple” state with both conservative and liberal voters but for most voters, reforming our state's marijuana laws is not a partisan issue. According to a poll conducted by the NC Partnership for Reform in May, 2022, “82% of voters supported the legalization of medical marijuana” (including 75% of Republicans, 87% of Unaffiliated, and 86% of Democrats).

Legalization of adult use is not as widely supported by those polled: 60% of voters support legalizing recreational marijuana and 38% oppose it. There were also partisan differences: 67% of Unaffiliated and 68% of Democrats support recreational marijuana, but a majority of Republicans (53%) oppose it.

Smoke the Vote (StV) is a repository for cannabis positions of those who are running to represent us. NC NORML is entering the information we have to make it more complete. In the 2022 General Election (11/8/2022), NC voters will elect 14 US House members, 1 US Senator, 120 members to the NC House of Representatives, and 50 members to the NC Senate. 

When you pull up StV, you can opt to look at all North Carolina candidates by clicking on the state, or you can narrow the amount of information by entering your 9 digit zip code.

When the list of candidates is displayed, select a candidate’s name to see why the candidate received their grade. If the candidate has a question mark beside their name, you can help by researching them - one easy way to do this is to ask them on social media, and let us know at - be sure to include links, screenshots, or whatever you have documented

NC NORML does not endorse candidates! Whenever available, link(s) to candidates’ campaign websites/Facebook pages/Twitter feeds are noted on StV, and we encourage you to research them. Candidates for the NC General Assembly are rated based on their responses to NC NORML’s 2022 Questionnaire (if completed), public statements, sponsorship of bills and votes on key bills if they have previously held office. Our volunteers have been working overtime to ensure that ratings are documentable and linked to votes, bill sponsorships, campaign websites and public statements in the media (including social media).  

The highest ratings were awarded to incumbents who were the primary sponsor(s) of adult use bills (A+) or medical marijuana/decriminalization bills (B+). NC Senators who voted for but did not cosponsor SB711 NC Compassionate Care Act were rated B- (the NC House did not vote on the bill). Incumbents who cosponsored adult use bills received an A, and those who cosponsored medical marijuana/decriminalization bills received a B. Incumbents who voiced support support for but did not cosponsor bills, and candidates with no legislative history received A- for their support of adult use or B- for their support of medical marijuana/decriminalization.

Other ratings:

C Expressed public support for medical marijuana, but only non-smokable or medical forms.

D Has expressed no public support for significant marijuana law reform but may have sponsored and/or voted in favor of CBD/Hemp specific bills.

F Public opposition to significant marijuana law reform (adult use, medical, and/or decriminalization) but may have sponsored and/or voted in favor of CBD/Hemp specific bills.

? Has made no public statements for or against significant marijuana law reform and has no voting history. 

Voting Records:

The “Cannabis Conversation” in North Carolina began in 1977, when the General Assembly elected to “decriminalize” possession of up to ½ ounce of marijuana*. 

The first “medical marijuana” study bill was introduced in 2001. Between 2001-2021 multiple medical cannabis and decriminalization bills were introduced in the NC House and/or Senate, but not voted on in either chamber. 

Between 2014-2019, four bills promoting minor reforms were passed by the legislature and enacted into law. A bill that addressed the disposition of CBD extracts also passed both houses and was enacted into law. A bill that would have expanded access to CBD extracts was passed by the Senate but was not taken up by the House. Finally, in 2022, a medical marijuana bill was passed in the NC Senate but was not taken up by the House. The bills we reviewed include:

SB 711 (2021-2022 Session) NC Compassionate Care Act (NC Senate Only)

SB 168 (2019-2020 Session) Expand Allowed Medical Uses/Cannabis Extract (NC Senate Only)

SB 124 (2017-2018 Session) LEO Managed CBD Oil Dropbox 

HB 992 / Senate Bill 771 (2015-2016 Session) Amend Industrial Hemp Program

HB 766 (2015-2016 Session) Amend CBD Oil Statute

SB 313 (2015-2016 Session) Industrial Hemp

HB 1220 (2013-2014 Session) Hope 4 Haley and Friends

Candidates who are running for Federal offices (US House/Senate) are rated by NORML based on separate criteria:

A+ Lead sponsor and outspoken in their public comments. 

A Indicates that this candidate has publicly declared their support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults; co-sponsor of legalization/depenalization legislation. 

A rated Bills (None in the Senate)

B Indicates that this candidate supports policies specific to the legalization of medical cannabis and/or the decriminalization of cannabis; sponsor/co-sponsor of medical cannabis legalization legislation; outspoken in public comments about it; and/or sponsor/co-sponsor of other significant reform legislation (decriminalization at the state level, “Joyce bill” H.R. 3105 and other narrow descheduling bills at the federal level.) 

C Indicates that this candidate has publicly acknowledged that states are moving forward with cannabis law reform policies and minor adjustments should be made at the federal level; co-sponsor/sponsor of ancillary legislation (e.g., the SAFE Banking Act, CLAIM Act, HOPE Act, federal research reform), supportive of smaller reforms (medical/decrim) in public statements but not a sponsor/co-sponsor. 

D Indicates that this candidate has expressed no support for any significant marijuana law reform; slightly supportive of minor reforms (CBD) in public comments, but not a co-sponsor of any significant reform. Supportive of minor reform, but opposed to legalization. 

F Indicates that this member expresses significant and vocal opposition to marijuana law reform.

Make sure you are registered to vote and check out election news from around the country: 

Register To Vote - NORML

*Many activists prefer the scientific term cannabis, however, we use the terms interchangeably based on context (i.e. statute and study language).