top of page

NC Governor Backs Marijuana Decriminalization And Directs Lawyers To Review Pardon Options

North Carolina Governor Backs Marijuana Decriminalization And Directs Lawyers To Review Pardon Options

The governor of North Carolina is officially backing marijuana decriminalization in the state, saying it’s time to “end the stigma” and announcing steps he’s taken to explore his options for independently granting relief to people with existing convictions.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D) spoke about the policy on Friday during a meeting of a criminal justice task force that he convened in 2020. That panel ultimately recommended decriminalization, and this marks the first time the governor is explicitly endorsing the reform.

Cooper raised the issue in response to President Joe Biden’s surprise actions on Thursday to pardon people who’ve committed federal marijuana possession offenses and call on governors across the U.S. to provide similar relief at the state-level.

“This task force has already met this issue head-on by recommending…that simple possession of a small amount of marijuana should not be a crime,” he said. “Law enforcement and the criminal justice system are under-resourced right now, and they should be focused on stopping violent crime, drug trafficking and other threats to safe communities.”


Written by Ai & G. Taylor

In the United States, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that the federal government believes it has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Yet, in the past two years, nine states and Washington, D.C. have decriminalized recreational marijuana use, and another 30 states have legalized it for medical use. These changes in state law come as public opinion on marijuana is shifting. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans now support marijuana legalization, up from just 25% in 1995.

So what’s driving this change?

For one, more and more people are recognizing that marijuana is not as harmful as once believed. In fact, it may even have some holistic and health benefits. A growing body of research suggests that marijuana can be used to treat a variety of medical condition, including pain, anxiety, and nausea. Some have even had life changes experiences due to cannabis.

What’s more, many people are beginning to see marijuana as a potential solution to the opioid epidemic. A recent study found that states with medical marijuana laws had 24.8% fewer deaths from opioid overdoses than states without such laws. Some researchers believe that marijuana could help wean people off of more addictive and harmful substances, like opioids.

Then there’s the economic argument for legalization. It’s estimated that the legal marijuana industry was worth $10.4 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $24.5 billion by 2025. Tax revenue from legal marijuana sales can be used to fund important programs like education and drug treatment.

Legalization also takes the marijuana market out of the hands of drug dealers and into the hands of regulated businesses. This makes it easier to keep marijuana away from minors and prevents people from buying other drugs, like opioids, from dealers who also sell marijuana.

There’s also a growing recognition that the current system of marijuana prohibition is unjust and disproportionately impacts people of color. African Americans are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana, despite using the drug at similar rates.

These factors are all helping to drive the culture shift on marijuana. As more states move to decriminalize or legalize the drug, it’s likely that the federal government will eventually have to reconsider its stance.

The culture of cannabis study and entrepreneurship have been held back and that’s truly criminal. In that we weaken peoples proper engagement with cannabis. We need to see other people use it even if we don’t use it. Think of how many things we’ve learned by association of community. Prohibition has slowed this god speed down.

Cannabis has many lessons to teach us of food, fiber and medicine. Everything in nature has much to teach us, will we listen ?


bottom of page