About North Carolina Norml
The North Carolina chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) is a non-profit organization based in the Triad with other local chapters in Charlotte, Raleigh and Hickory. Our aim is to achieve the legalization of marijuana so that the responsible use of marijuana by adults and patients is no longer subject to penalty. Through lobbying and public outreach, we hope to educate the public and the North Carolina Legislature about the benefits of the legalization of marijuana.
We encourage everyone to take action. Please contact and meet with your legislator today, and join NC NORML in the fight against injustice. By becoming a member, you can help support the campaign with vital financial resources, or by becoming active in a local chapter.
NC NORML intends to end cannabis prohibition in North Carolina. This goal includes removing all penalties for private possession, medical and responsible adult use, cultivation for personal use and casual non-profit transfers of small amounts of marijuana. Our goal is to enact comprehensive legislation that removes the cannabis user from the criminal justice system.
Legalization will end the considerable burden that prohibition has forced upon our criminal justice system. We believe that the police are too valuable to waste their time pursuing otherwise law-abiding citizens. We value the rights of every adult in North Carolina to use marijuana responsibly, without fear of arrest or citation.
Also, in 2016 North Carolina counties reported a total of 3,775 opiate overdose deaths. States that have passed laws granting legal access to cannabis have seen 25% decreases in opiate overdose deaths. Statistically, this equates to 943 lives that could have been saved here in 2016. This is an issue that has to be addressed. It places a burden on families, the justice system, and our healthcare system.
NC NORML develops campaigns that we consider reasonable and capable of making tangible progress. One of our core missions is to develop a statewide presence through creation and support of local chapters. Local chapters can operate with relative autonomy, crafting and developing their own campaigns with the guidance, direction, and approval of the NC NORML Board of Directors.
Benefits of Cannabis Legalization
- The United States would save approximately $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement.
- The United States would gain approximately $2.4 billion in tax revenue annually if it were taxed like most consumer goods and $6.2 billion if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco
- Medical cannabis patients would no longer suffer legal limbo or social stigma from using cannabis to treat nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, or other conditions.
- Infringements on civil liberties and racial profiling would decrease, since victimless crimes are a key cause of such police behavior.
- Quality control would improve because sellers would advertise and establish reputations for a consistent product.
- Legalization would decrease the corruption that currently characterizes cannabis markets. In underground markets, participants cannot resolve disputes through non-violent mechanisms such as lawsuits, advertising, lobbying, or campaign contributions. Undesirable features of “vice” markets disappear when vice is legal, as abundant experience with alcohol, prostitution, and gambling all demonstrate.
- Usage rates of marijuana are unlikely to increase if cannabis were legal. Across countries, use rates for marijuana show little connection to the strictness of the prohibition regime. The Netherlands has virtual legalization, for example, yet use rates do not greatly differ from those in the United States. Portugal’s de facto legalization of cannabis in 2001 did not cause any measurable increase; indeed, use was lower afterward.
- Enforcing the prohibition of a non-toxic plant that increases self-awareness (according to federally funded studies) is a misguided policy and unnecessary injustice.
- The benefits of cannabis use far outweigh the undesirable effects. In the first federally funded study of its effects, the report concluded “less than 10 percent of the effects of [cannabis] intoxication investigated in this study seemed unequivocally ‘undesirable’ in nature, and these effects were primarily infrequent and rare… The pleasure of intoxication far outweigh the drawbacks in reports of experienced users.”
About Cannabis in the United States
Cannabis is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked cannabis in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use.
Cannabis is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, cannabis is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, “The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.”
More than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives under some form of cannabis decriminalization, and according to government and academic studies, these laws have not contributed to an increase in consumption nor negatively impacted adolescent attitudes toward drug use.
Enforcing cannabis prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $7.7 billion annually and results in the arrests of more than 850,000 U.S. citizens per year — far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Of those charged with cannabis violations 758,593 Americans (approximately 88%) were charged with possession only. The remaining 99,815 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where cannabis was being grown for personal or medical use.
NC NORML supports the development of a legally controlled market for cannabis, where consumers could grow their own and buy cannabis for personal use from a safe legal source. This policy, generally known as legalization, exists on various levels in a handful of countries like The Netherlands and Switzerland, both of which enjoy lower rates of adolescent use than the U.S. Such a system would reduce many of the problems presently associated with the prohibition of cannabis, including the crime, corruption and violence associated with a “black market.”
Cannabis has been part of humanity’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded.
Of all the negative consequences of cannabis prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal cannabis to the tens of thousands of patients who could benefit from its therapeutic use.
Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Cannabis is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and is a neuroprotectant.
Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.