NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Military veterans in North Carolina, especially around Fayetteville, a center of both active military personnel and vets, are now organizing to put marijuana legalization on the state's GOP platform.
In February, the North Carolina House saw the introduction of a bill to legalize medical marijuana. It was introduced by Representative Kelly Alexander, a Charlotte-based Democrat. This is Alexander's fourth attempt to legalize medical use in the state. This is the first time, however, that medical reform has attracted so much support in the North Carolina House. There are now over a dozen cosponsors. Republican support for the measure, however, is non-existent.
That may be about to change thanks to efforts from David Hargitt, Sr., president of NC RAMP (Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition), one of several groups leading the charge to put the issue of legalization on the Republican state party platform.
"The reason I have gotten involved in advocating for medical cannabis in North Carolina is to ensure patients and doctors have the ability to prescribe and use cannabis as medication without the fear of retribution, prosecution and being treated like criminals," he said. Hargitt's goal, as he explained, is "[f]or this platform to become one of the GOP's stances."
"It is time that Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians, Liberals, Democrats and Independents to realize that there is scientific evidence that cannabis is medication," he said.
Veterans may yet be one of the strongest forces for reform in states that lag behind on the cannabis legalization debate, especially in the South. They may also turn the tables on Conservative state legislatures who are still stalling on even comprehensive medical reform.