Last month legislation to make recreational marijuana legal in North Carolina was passed through its first reading and given a committee assignment in the House of Representatives. Since then, the bill has garnered 10 additional sponsors.
House Bill 626 was filed on April 17 by State Representative Johnnie Autry along with three cosponsors. A little over a month later although the bill has yet to advance out of the House Rules, Calendar, and Operations Committee, 10 additional lawmakers have signed on to officially sponsor the bill. Now over 10% of the entire 120-member House of Representatives is sponsoring the proposal.
A companion bill – SB 346 – was filed in March with just one sponsor. It’s now sponsored by almost 15% of the full Senate, at seven. This brings the total number of sponsors in the legislature to 21.
HB 626 and SB 346 would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, 15 grams of marijuana concentrates (hash, oil, etc.) and up to 2,000 milligrams of THC worth of marijuana-infused-products, for those 21 and older. The personal cultivation of up to six marijuana plants would also be allowed for those 21+.
The preamble to the bill states that the prohibition of cannabis “has had an unfair, disparate impact on persons and communities of color”, and it “diverts law enforcement resources from violent and property crimes and subjects civilians to unnecessary police interactions”. Doing this also “deprives the State of thousands of legal jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.”
The full text of House Bill 626, which is identical to Senate Bill 346, can be found by clicking here.