Friday, July 23, 2021

Did Bill Rabon Smoke Dope?


Bill Rabon

Bill Rabon, the powerful chair of the NC Senate Rules Committee, dodged the direct question of whether he himself had smoked marijuana during a grueling bout with chemotherapy to treat colon cancer. But that experience in 1999, well before he was elected to the Senate in the 2010 Tea Party uprising, fueled his determination to make medical cannabis legal in North Carolina (Senate bill 711), which now looks likely to pass because of Rabon's sponsorship. He's among the most conservative of Republicans, and he's bringing many of his conservative brethren in the NC General Assembly over to his side.

SB 711 would make North Carolina one of the last states to legalize medical cannabis. California was the first (naturally), but don't think for a minute that North Carolina will be unleashed by Rabon's bill from Victorian abstemiousness. Rabon and the other Republicans supporting the bill emphasize that it will be the most restrictive in the country. The list of "debilitating medical conditions" eligible for treatment with cannabis remains narrow and highly prescriptive. "Chronic pain" doesn't qualify. If you're claiming PTSD, you better have proof of military service in a combat zone. There'll be a higher-than-normal sales tax for consumers. Rabon's bill proposes charging dispensaries $50,000 to get a license, plus another $10,000 a year to keep it, with extra fees if they open multiple locations.

General Assembly Republicans want it clear that no one is going to have fun because of SB 711. The promotion of happiness would be very "off-brand" for North Carolina's Republican legislative majority.

The NC Senate Finance Committee passed the bill on Wednesday after hearing some testimony from the public. One gentleman said "he would qualify for medical marijuana if this bill passes, due to a tumor. But he questioned why there needs to be a higher-than-normal sales tax on marijuana, plus extra costs imposed on growing equipment, plus fees on dispensaries. 'The patient will pay that,' [he] told lawmakers, later adding: 'I’m going to go to the black market if you put a 10%, 18% tax on it.' ”

Will Doran reported, "Democrats in both chambers support the bill, although some say it shouldn’t be as strict as the Republicans backing it want. Some Democratic lawmakers have argued for full legalization, as Virginia just did in addition to another handful of states, while others haven’t pushed for full legalization but have asked — so far in vain — for the list of medical ailments to be expanded to include things like chronic pain or migraines."

"No" was the Republican answer.


Invisible and Disrepected said...

If we give it enough time we'll see how the insurance companies can get involved and actually raise the cost even more.
BTW, in states that have legalized pot, there is still a black market due to the higher costs imposed because of taxing and licensing. Only the fools in the GOP think that pot isn't prevalent in the state already. If I had to guess, I'd say that at least 60% or more of the people driving around the state are holding.

Anonymous said...

Just wait until our neighbor Virginia starts using legal weed as a tourist draw.