by Joshua D. Glawson
LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser
North Carolina has a long history of autocratic control, especially regarding individual liberty. Whether that be freely pursuing the career one wants, building where one would like, or consuming what one wishes, North Carolina is not known for its freedom. When it comes to indulging in marijuana, North Carolina has been notoriously despotic.
Marijuana, which is hemp especially prized for its nonlethal psychoactive properties, has been controlled since 1937. Democrat U.S. Congressman Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina was at the forefront of spearheading an aggressive campaign against Liberty and the consumption of marijuana at the state level as well as the federal level. Doughton’s program was known as the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was only one year after the propaganda film Reefer Madness (1936). With the passing of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, came the heavy prohibitory taxation and destruction of the marijuana and hemp industry in the United States.
In 1971, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon (R), who was a graduate of Duke Law class of 1937, began one of the most aggressive campaigns against Liberty and the consumption of marijuana in United States history. Nixon’s notorious War on Drugs has actively criminalized anyone who grows, buys, sells, transports, or consumes marijuana-related products. Some have speculated over the years that Nixon’s outright criminalization of marijuana and other drugs was directly targeting African Americans, Mexican Americans, and "hippies" who had a culture of consuming marijuana and butting against the overreaching government.
Over the past 10 years, many states have begun resisting federal government laws to control marijuana with Colorado being among the first states to legalize it in 2012 (#BecomeUngovernable). Since then, a total of 23 states across the country have legalized marijuana for recreational use and 38 states have legalized it for medical use. Even the states that have not completely legalized have turned a blind eye to small quantities of marijuana possession or consumption, including the state of North Carolina.
In 2023, North Carolina was presented with an opportunity to legalize marijuana for medical use. However, the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 3) was turned down. Perhaps the wording, intent, or another aspect of the bill were why it was rejected, but North Carolina went another year without even medically approved marijuana.
Just weeks after that bill was turned down, as of September 7, 2023, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) have stepped up and approved growing, selling, buying, consuming, and distributing marijuana-related products on their reservation, regardless of tribal status or affiliation (with some exceptions and steps required). Notably, the EBCI is the only Native American group to have been an LP affiliate.
This is fantastic news for those who wish to consume marijuana products and a small win for liberty in the region. Furthermore, it is a win for medical freedom, because where the state of North Carolina only wishes death and misery upon the good citizens, the Cherokee Native American tribe of the Carolinas is here for the rescue.
Marijuana has been used to aid in pain relief while not having the risks that come with opioids and opiates, reducing the severity and frequency of epileptic seizures, assisting those wanting to stop consuming alcohol, used as a form of stress and anxiety reduction, to relieve insomnia, creating a sense of hunger and reduced nausea for those on chemotherapy, reducing inflammation, and more. And, to this day, no one has been reported as having died from consuming marijuana-related products.
In fact, the federal government is finally coming around to possibly reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I (associated with heroin and meth) to a Schedule III (associated with anabolic steroids and ketamine).
All while Republican U.S. Congressman Chuck Edwards of North Carolina wants to push to continue having marijuana illegal at the state and federal level with his proposed Stop Pot Act. It is doubtful that Edwards’ Act will get very far, but it is frustrating and disheartening to see yet another North Carolinian politician stomp on the Liberty and autonomy of peaceful individuals.
While Liberty is being attacked by authoritarian politicians like Doughton, Nixon, or Edwards, people find ways to circumvent the overreach of a draconian state. If there is one thing that prohibitions of all sorts have shown us throughout history it's that freedom will prevail. Whether that freedom is for the recreational imbibing of a joint with loved ones, or a cancer patient suffering through pain and the detrimental effects of chemotherapy in need of medicinal properties from marijuana, peaceful Liberty will overcome the state’s death grip.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have taken the right step to legalize marijuana on their reservations. This will help their own people, as well as those in the North Carolina and Tennesee area that connects to the Cherokee, North Carolina, area. This could encourage business development in the region, as well as help save or ease the lives of millions in the region. This was a win for the Cherokee and the people of North Carolina, and a small win for liberty in North Carolina.
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)