Pandora’s Box — ‘Medical Marijuana’

By Mary Griswold | News Commentary

RALEIGH – Legislation to legalize marijuana for “medical” purposes in North Carolina is on the move again in the State Legislature. HB 563 has been added to Senate Bill 3, a measure that would establish an extensive framework of licensing for the growth, manufacture, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana for a variety of “medical” purposes in North Carolina.

The move came as a complete surprise to many, as the marijuana legalization measure was added to a bill designed to ban and/or regulate a host of dangerous hemp-derived consumable products that are currently marketed and sold to children and adults in gas stations, convenience stores, vape shops, and other outlets across the state.

HB 563, including the Senate Bill 3 language, was then considered and approved by the Senate Rules Committee Thursday morning (June 20) and by the full Senate on an initial vote of 33-9 on Thursday afternoon.

If ultimately approved by the Senate, HB 563 will return to the House for a vote to either concur or not concur with the Senate’s changes to the bill. If the House does not agree with the Senate’s changes, the bill will be sent to a conference committee where members from both chambers will be assigned to try to iron out differences between the two chambers’ versions of the bill.

Senate Bill 3, is called the “NC Compassionate Care Act.” It originally passed the State Senate in March 2023 but was not taken up in the House. Because this year’s legislative session is technically a continuation of last year’s session, the bill remains eligible for consideration, but it has not been considered in the House. The move by the Senate to amend the Senate Bill 3 language into HB 563, represents yet another attempt by the Senate to force the issue on the other chamber.

The “holy grail” of the medical community is a non-addictive pain killer that could be used after surgery or to quell arthritis pain. Drug companies have been very active in their quest for this holy grail. Oxycontin is one result of this quest. We know how that turned out. Marijuana is the new object of that quest.

Unfortunately, marijuana has some of the same issues as Oxycontin.

The May issue of the AARP Bulletin includes an article on medical marijuana. It notes that medical marijuana is legal in 38 states. The market for marijuana gummies has exploded in recent years. The article notes that marijuana can help with chronic pain and sleep and anxiety problems, but does not seem to help with short-term pain.

The May 2024 issue of NewsMax also included an article about marijuana. The article cited a Danish study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry (JAMA) last year.

The article in Newsmax states that between 1995 and 2010 the percentage of Danish schizophrenia diagnoses associated with marijuana usage had nearly quadrupled, and the combination of greater usage with stronger pot is bringing down the age of first onset of mental illness. Someone who might have gotten into their late 20’s without a psychotic episode could now be faced with their first break with reality while still in their teens.

The article at Newsmax concludes by stating that marijuana can make treating mental illness more difficult and can throw a person’s life off course before it has a chance to get on course. It also mentions that the marijuana of today is stronger and more addictive than the marijuana than the marijuana of the 1960’s. Neither article referenced above is willing to describe marijuana as a harmless drug.

The lessons of history tell us that legalizing medical marijuana leads to legalizing recreational marijuana. There is no indication that marijuana is a harmless drug without consequences. The push for the legalization of medical marijuana in North Carolina needs to be stopped.