Local legislator introduces bill to legalize medical marijuana

by: Natalie Pasquarella Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local lawmaker filed a bill to allow the use of medical marijuana.

Rep. Kelly Alexander (D-Mecklenburg) is behind the legislation.

"Cannabis is a substance that does have medical applications that are provable," Alexander said.

Alexander said hearing about people who struggle with chronic pain, specifically veterans, is a big reason for his push.
 
He also said the state could make big money -- anywhere from $100 to $200 million in tax revenue.

"Salary increases for teachers,” Alexander said. “You're talking about salary increases for state employees. There's a whole litany of things that we have been discussing."

A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 70 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old believe marijuana should be legalized.
 
That is compared to 32 percent of people 65 and older who support it.

If the bill passes the House and Senate, it could be on the November ballot.

Ron Boatright, a resident, said, "I've lived a long time and I've seen a lot of families wrecked with alcohol and drugs and I've just never seen anything good come from them."

Another resident, Jordan Minor, said, "I think it's something that's going to kickstart the economy -- a lot of job opportunities. That's tax money that our state could be using."
 
In January, Channel 9 spoke with a family who wants the legislation to pass so it can help its son.

Ellen Wingate said her son Logan has a brain malformation and severe epilepsy.
 
She wants to consider medical marijuana as an option to treat his uncontrollable, life-threatening seizures but can't until medical marijuana is legal in North Carolina.

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