By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
July 1, 2021
Wednesday, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation (SB 711 – N.C. Compassionate Care Act), which would provide for the sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products for debilitating medical conditions.
Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), the primary sponsor of the legislation and the very powerful Senate Rules Chairman, touted the bill before a legislative room filled with supporters.
Rabon said he was moved to support medical marijuana out of his own experiences of having fought cancer. He said he thought the time had come for the matter to be discussed in North Carolina and that we needed to care for our fellowman compassionately.
Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), also a primary sponsor of the measure, said he had heard a lot from opponents about medical marijuana. He said he agreed with them on many points, but he didn’t believe that should keep the state from trying to help people suffering from incapacitating ailments that marijuana might help. Sen. Lee said he was strongly opposed to the recreational use of cannabis.
Sen. Kathy Harington (R-Gaston), the Senate Majority Leader, said six months ago she would have never voted for a medical marijuana bill, but her husband was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and was undergoing cancer treatments, and she felt marijuana might assist him.
As expected, several Democrats spoke enthusiastically in favor of the measure. Sen. Paul Lowe, a Democrat, another primary sponsor of SB 711, said he thought the bill was necessary for expanding medical technology.
During public comment, only two persons spoke against the proposal. They were Jere Royall, Director of Community Impact and Counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, and Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
Royall noted marijuana has never been approved as other medications by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He added that the American Medical Association (AMA) has also stated it “believes that cannabis for medicinal use should not be legalized through the state legislative, ballot initiative, or referendum process.”
Royall’s testimony also included a statement from an AMA court brief, which reads: “While it is possible that there may be beneficial medicinal uses of marijuana, numerous evidence-based studies demonstrate the significant deleterious effects abound,'” and that “without question, the public health risks are immense.” These risks include “drug abuse and addiction, change in brain function, lung disease, intoxication and impaired driving, developmental interference, impaired cognition, psychological illness, cardiovascular abnormalities, negative social functioning effects, and cancer.”
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, followed Royall’s testimony. In his remarks, Creech referenced previous testimony given in support of SB 711 at a June 24 hearing of the bill.
“At the last hearing of this legislation, you heard emotional testimony – compelling – nevertheless – purely anecdotal evidence at best, and certainly not supported by the preponderance of the data today, and not what the committee should base a state-wide public policy on. You heard the testimony of a doctor who endorsed the use of cannabis as medicine – thereby parting from the vast majority of our nation’s medical associations, which argue the scientific evidence of the therapeutic use of cannabis does not meet the current standards for a prescription drug product – nor can smoked marijuana be equated with medicine.
“So, what would drive this body to pass such a measure? Perhaps it’s compassion, as the title of the bill claims. But I suggest if our hearts are so open that we venture down a dangerous path, then we are apt to be lost in a wilderness of negative and unexpected outcomes.
“Whatever the case, it is not a commitment to the facts. It is not according to the science. Smoked marijuana is not medicine. What this bill does is outpace the science, which is affirming more with each passing day that pot is a harmful drug in which the deleterious effects abound, as Mr. Royall said earlier.
“What this bill will mostly do is dress up an illicit mind-altering product to appear as something good, which studies have shown misleads more of our youth to use it, and ultimately leads to the legalization of recreational marijuana.
“By passing this measure today, we begin to open the Pandora’s box. A judicious decision would keep the lid closed.”
Other persons from the public spoke in favor of the bill; some were activists for the legalization of marijuana and expressed dissatisfaction with the proposal, saying it didn’t go far enough.
After the committee meeting, Creech said he hoped lawmakers noticed the number of people from the public who criticized the bill’s limits.
“I tell you they will never be satisfied until that noxious fume is as prevalent as booze. That’s the last thing we need in this country is another legal intoxicant. As much as I love them and respect them, as much as I think conservative evangelicals need them, I think by supporting this legislation, a number of our Republican friends are making an egregious error,” said Creech. “Figuratively speaking, they’ll do $500 worth of good and $500 million worth of damage. Defining smoked marijuana as medicine, when it isn’t by any current medical standard, might be a noble attempt at being compassionate, but in the long haul, it’ll be brutal in exacerbating drug-related problems on what is already a drug-saturated society. If concerned citizen Christians don’t contact their state Senator and express their displeasure, there may be enough momentum to pass it this year. I’m convinced that would be a tragedy.”
SB 711 will now be sent to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.
Please contact your N.C. State Senator immediately and ask him/her to VOTE NO on SB 711 – N.C. Compassionate Care Act. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT IF YOUR STATE SENATOR IS A REPUBLICAN.
If you don’t know who represents you in the N.C. Senate, click on this link to find out: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators