Commissioners pass resolution on medical marijuana

Published 1:04 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

At their regular meeting on Monday night, the Board of Beaufort County Commissioners passed a resolution (6-1) stating they are opposed to recreational use of marijuana but not opposed to heavily regulated use of medical marijuana. The resolution will be sent to the North Carolina General Assembly. 


The resolution reads, “We oppose the recreation passage of any legislation that would provide for recreational use of medical marijuana. We are not opposed to medical marijuana  provided it’s heavily regulated.” 

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(Commissioner Randy Walker voted against the motion, but Ed Booth, Jerry Langley, Frankie Waters, John Rebholz, Hood Richardson and Stan Deatherage voted for it.) 


Their motion is in relation to the NC Compassionate Care Act which is sitting in the North Carolina House of Representatives. Final approval of the bill was given by the state senate (35-10) on Thursday, June 2. 


The act would allow the sale of cannabis and cannabis infused products to patients with a “debilitating medical condition.” These conditions as defined by the bill include  “cancer, epilepsy, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (subject to evidence that an applicant experienced one or more traumatic events), multiple sclerosis, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or persistent nausea in a person who is not pregnant that is related to end of life or hospice care or who is bedridden or homebound because of a condition, a terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months, a condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care, and any other serious medical condition or its treatment added by the Compassionate Use Advisory Board.” 


The Compassionate Use Advisory Board would consist of 11 members who have “specified experience,” according to the act. The board would review requests to add debilitating medical conditions and add those conditions to the existing list. The commission would also award licenses to ten suppliers and those suppliers could operate up to four dispensaries each. Patients would receive prescriptions from a physician and pick up prescriptions at state-regulated cannabis medical centers. 


Commissioner Richardson would like to see the North Carolina General Assembly pass legislation that would prescribe harsher sentences to people convicted of drug related crime. “What I would like for the legislature to do is to toughen the laws so there’s no getting out early for good behavior if you’re convicted.” 


He continued, “Too many people’s lives are ruined. Too many people can’t get a job…” 


Richardson said he believes consumption of marijuana, whether for medical or recreational purposes, does more harm than good. “Medical marijuana is a great excuse for legalizing marijuana.” 


Commissioner Deatherage shared  similar thoughts. Specifically, he acknowledged that medical marijuana could provide relief to patients, but said he has concerns that patients taking medical marijuana may use it recreationally.


Commissioners Booth spoke about veterans who advocate for medical marijuana, because they say it helps relieve symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) “I would hate for Beaufort County to stand up and be in opposition to something that they believe in – that’s something they think they need.” 


Commissioner Walker noted that in the past alcohol and playing the lottery were perceived as harmful to American citizens; however, legislation legalizing alcohol consumption and playing  the lottery eventually passed.  He wondered if legalizing medical marijuana would “re-activate” the local farming community. “I think there are more benefits I think we need to look at,” he said. He added that if medical marijuana can provide pain relief to users then he fully supports it.