- Check out the update from Raleigh
- Send a quick email to the AG Office
Actions that constituents take really make a difference!
1. NC NORML Lobbyist Raleigh Report- September 27, 2021
As I’ve mentioned before, passing even the watered down S711 “Compassionate Care Act” (medical cannabis) will be difficult and unpredictable. It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me since S711 has not been scheduled for a Rules Committee hearing which would be the normal process. It’s surprising because Senator Rabon is the sponsor AND Rules Committee chair. It’s not scheduled yet for Rules, because something is happening behind the scenes.
There’s no verified information, but rumors just surfaced that the NC Attorney General’s office has concerns about parts of the bill. We know that AG Josh Stein supports medical cannabis, but the NC Attorney General’s office has the legal responsibility to defend lawsuits brought against the state. We have concerns about the business/licensing section of the bill, and it may be those sections are also of concern to the AG’s office in being able to defend potential lawsuits. This is the best guess based on rumors, but there may be other reasons for the bill being held. Legislators are being very tight lipped right now.
If true, these rumors predict that an amended S711 will be considered by the Senate Committee next spring. The result will be a scramble to get S711 passed within 4-5 months by the Senate and through the House’s various committees and a House vote before session adjournment in the summer of 2022.
2. Please send the suggested message below to NC’s Attorney General Josh Stein (FYI, he seems to have plans to run for governor, so numbers matter). If every cannabis supporter sends emails, we might change the dynamics of cannabis prohibition in NC. Go to https://ncdoj.gov/contact-doj/, scroll to the bottom and fill in your info and copy, paste (edit if you’d like!) the message into the “Message” box.
Dear Attorney General Stein,
As co-chair of the Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, you know about excessive arrests, many of which are discriminatory; almost 4 times as many black as white residents are arrested, despite equal use of cannabis. More than 185,000 NC residents were arrested for simple possession between 2008-2018.
You are in a position with S711 to improve justice in NC. Our law enforcement personnel have unrestricted use of their ‘suspicions’ and stereotypes, disregarding honest probable cause. Most of these disparities occur in private vehicles. S711 should be amended to rein in expansive, almost absent probable cause. Law enforcement should have to meet procedures to establish probable cause for arrest and search.
First, S711 must require law enforcement to request a medical cannabis card prior to arrest and search. Second, if no card is produced, law enforcement should administer a 5 minute roadside impairment test and if negative, no search and arrest should be allowed. Some technology devices that accurately measure cannabis impairment have been developed and these can be deployed in the place of saliva tests. You could ensure that far fewer North Carolinians would be subject to the vague “sniff” test that currently satisfies “probable cause” for search, potential harassment, and even death (Keith Lamont Scott).
Even the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration states that blood and urine tests do not determine cannabis impairment. The effects of THC peak approximately 9-30 minutes after smoking, lasting 1-2 hours. "It is inadvisable to try and predict effects based on blood THC concentrations alone, and currently impossible to predict specific effects based on THC-COOH concentrations." Detection of total THC metabolites in urine "is well past the window of intoxication and impairment."
Requiring consistent body camera use would also help judges separate officer bias from truly impaired behavior.
Sincerely, (your name)
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