Smoking marijuana in our state is illegal, but there is a bill in the North Carolina House that would change that. It is bill 1380, and it would make it legal for people to use the drug for medical reasons. Many are against the idea, but there's a group in our state pushing hard to get it passed.
Richard Michael and Rebecca Forbes both smoke marijuana for medical reasons. They are among the 500 people in our state that belong to a group called N.C. Cannabis Patient Network. The group is pushing for for passage of House Bill 1380.
Michael says he lights up to ease the pain from a motorcycle accident that left him with severe injuries. He says even after several surgeries, he still has constant headaches, chronic pain and tremors. Michael says he turned to marijuana because he didn't like the effects prescription drugs Oxycontin and Xanax had on him.
Forbes says she also turned to the drug for medical reasons. She was experiencing severe pain--- she went to the doctors and they found a mass on her adrenal gland. She to was prescribed Oxycontin. Forbes says "When I take something like that you're useless-you're just high...can't even function on Oxycontin. It's awful."
Fourteen states in our country have passed similar bills allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. It's up to each state to decide how they will distribute the drug.
Not everyone thinks the idea of medical marijuana is a good one. Some of the biggest arguments against the bill are that marijuana can be a gateway drug and critics say it's not actually proven to be effective for medical use.
Some studies have shown that marijuana use can lead to lung cancer and can impair short-term memory, motor skills, reaction time and information processing skills.
House of Representative members we talked with said more research is needed before they could even comment.
And that's what members of the NCCPN are trying to push---more research and a better understanding of what they consider medicine, not an illegal drug.