City Council asked to support medical cannabis


City Council asked to support medical cannabis
January 25
04:00 2018

An appeal for a resolution supporting legalizing medical cannabis in North Carolina was made during the Winston-Salem City Council’s public comment session last week.

Tim Lounsbury, deputy director of NC NORML and a Winston-Salem resident, told the City Council that medical cannabis is already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia. He’s hoping if cities in North Carolina support legalizing it, then the General Assembly will act on it.

“Physicians in conjunction with their patients should be allowed to make medical decisions and explore all potential treatment options, including medical cannabis,” said Lounsbury.

NC NORML is a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which advocates legalizing “responsible use of marijuana by adults” and ensuring that access is safe, convenient and affordable. There’s been sweeping changes in state laws across the country on marijuana in recent years. Aside from more than half the country allowing for medical cannabis, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational use. Marijuana still remains illegal under federal law.

“Cannabis is becoming more widely accepted and used compassionately across the country to benefit patients in need. We must take this first step to end the hypocrisy and criminalization of patients,” said Lounsbury.

Asheville already passed a similar resolution in support of legislation that would make medical cannabis available to patients in a regulated way and NC NORML will be appealing to other cities as well. Last year’s attempt at such legislation in both houses of the General Assembly, which was co-sponsored by N.C. Rep. Ed Hanes of Forsyth County in the N.C. House of Representatives, never made it out of committee.

The use of medical cannabis has been endorsed by numerous medical groups, such as the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, Epilepsy Foundation and New England Journal of Medicine.

According to Dr. Alfonso Romero-Sandoval, associate professor of anesthesiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, research has shown that medical cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain in adults. He said it’s also effective for vomiting and nausea, particularly in cancer patients, and for multiple sclerosis, particularly muscle spasms caused by the disease.

Sandoval said there can be some risk of addiction with cannabis but it’s far lower than opioids, a commonly prescribed type of pain killer. Currently there is a nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse that’s turning deadly, as it’s easy to accidentally overdose on it. Cannabis is far less dangerous since an overdose cannot kill the user. Cannabis is also not as addictive as cigarettes or alcohol, he said.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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