Letter: Legalize marijuana to help NC prosper

Graphic by Lori Deaton

North Carolina is ignoring an opportunity to hugely increase its income and help its most vulnerable citizens.

North Carolina could increase funding for public education, safety programs, law enforcement training, mental health services and substance abuse programs. States like Illinois have proven this is possible through the legalization of marijuana.

The American Civil Liberties Union found that African Americans are about four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in North Carolina, despite similar usage rates. Though African Americans make up 22% of North Carolina’s population, they make up 50% of the people arrested for marijuana possession. Racial disparities in marijuana arrests have not improved over the last eight years, and in some areas, they have worsened.

The U.S. used the war on drugs to target communities of color, leading to huge numbers of people incarcerated for nonviolent crimes but with no decline in community crime. Not only would legalized marijuana boost public funding, but the tax revenues from sales could also be used to cover the administrative and expungement costs for communities of color and help undo historical wrongdoings from the war on drugs.

Marijuana could become our new cash crop, replacing tobacco. Tobacco gives big payouts to tobacco companies but otherwise does not help the citizens of North Carolina. Just with the approval of hemp growth and sales, N.C. farmers have seen large increases in income, and some rely less on tobacco. Marijuana would bring even more income for farmers and our state as a whole.

North Carolina needs to take this opportunity to help itself prosper and care for its citizens by simply catching up with other states and legalizing marijuana. The potential public funds could help North Carolina make sure all of its communities have access to services they need.

— Brittany Borras

Editor’s note: A 2018 report by the Center for American Progress notes that crime rates have declined since 1990 and that incarceration has a negligible effect on public safety.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

6 thoughts on “Letter: Legalize marijuana to help NC prosper

  1. Dopamina

    The War on Drugs is far more immoral than any immorality caused by drug use or abuse.

  2. Mike R.

    I support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, much like alcohol. But make no mistake, this will not make our society prosper. If anything, more people will probably use it and some, excessively. It is, afterall, an escape drug just like alcohol.
    And the tax money from pot? The tax money from alcohol sales is relatively insignificant in the overall scheme of revenue to the state.

    That said, the past laws on possession were a fools errand.

    • Dopamina

      “I support decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana”

      So do you support throwing people in cages that have large amounts of marijuana?

      Not sure if you were aware but not everyone who consumes marijuana is doing it to get their rocks off…

      • Mike R.

        I’m very sorry if my comments upset you. We may be splitting hairs on amount here. And yes, I am aware that some people use marijuana for medical benefit.

        • Dopamina

          No need to assume I’m upset, was merely trying to get more information about your opinion – odd you sidestepped my question and instead mused about my mood.

          But thanks for the reply regardless!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.