Marijuana (Cannabis) support strengthens in North Carolina

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More than four out of ten North Carolina voters believe cannabis should again be legal for adult purchase, and 63% say doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis.

Public Policy Poll – North Carolina Marijuana Support – January 2014

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling this past weekend reveals that a strong majority of North Carolinians (63%) want doctors to have the right to authorize cannabis for medicinal use. Last year an identical January poll showed support for medical marijuana at 58%, an increase of five points. Regarding full legalization of the plant, support rose three percentage points (39% to 42%) from this time last year.

Polling results show 53% of North Carolinians think alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, a view which is certainly supported by all available data. While only 12% see cannabis as being more dangerous, 23% believe the two as being equally dangerous and the rest are not sure.

According to a nationwide CNN poll last week, nearly 75% of Americans think alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis.

The state poll reached 1,384 North Carolina voters from January 9 – 12, 2014.

Regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp, nearly half of those polled believes North Carolina farmers should be allowed to grow the crop. The poll shows 48% support for farmers to have that right, and 18% are not sure. This is the first year a hemp-related question has been polled in North Carolina.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis species of plant. Hemp is similar to marijuana with the exception that hemp (a) contains no psychoactive chemicals and (b) can’t be grown in close proximity to psychoactive cannabis without hurting its quality. According to federal law, hemp is currently illegal to grow but is legal to import and process into textiles, paper, biofuels and food.

Jon Kennedy, an officer with the state chapter of NORML, said the poll results confirm North Carolina is following the nationwide trend of increasing marijuana awareness. “The people of North Carolina are beginning to understand that marijuana is safer than alcohol and are eager for a change in how we spend our tax dollars and generate revenue in the state.”

NORML of North Carolina is a non-profit organization with a mission to move public opinion sufficiently to re-legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.

Federally, marijuana has been a Schedule I controlled substance since 1970. Schedule I substances are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

There have been no deaths from marijuana overdose recorded. Fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32% of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do.

“Marijuana really is medicine. A recent CNN documentary about its ability to treat severe forms of epilepsy has given hope to families with children suffering from chronic seizures. The National Cancer Institute [] now recognizes marijuana has cancer cell killing properties. Considering plant is effectively non-toxic with no confirmed deaths from overdose and less addictive than alcohol suggests it is time for a reform of North Carolina’s marijuana laws,” added Kennedy.

According to FBI records, North Carolina law enforcement arrested over 20,000 people in 2011 for marijuana related offenses.