In the ongoing debate of whether to legalize medicinal marijuana in North Carolina, the Senate Finance Committee heard SB 711 – NC Compassionate Care Act. Two weeks ago, the measure cleared the Senate Judiciary. Today it was taken-up by the Senate Finance Committee and passed there as well.

Debate by legislators and comments by the public were required to focus on the finances of SB 711. Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League testified before the committee and made the following statement:

The uniqueness of the marijuana market is that, unlike prescription narcotics, it is treated differently. States characteristically do not subject prescription drugs to state sales taxes, while medical marijuana is subjected to both state sales and excise taxes. Typically, medical marijuana is taxed more like we do alcohol and tobacco rather than a medical drug.

We must also consider the potential for a medical marijuana program to create a bigger black market and the comparatively fractional revenue received from such a program. Colorado makes the most money in the country on marijuana – and that is a tiny .89% of the state budget from recreational and medical sales combined. Yet states continue to see black market sales vastly overtake legal sales. In Oregon, 70% of all marijuana sales are illegal statewide. Additionally:

$2.2 B in black market sales in Illinois this year

$1.7 B in black market sales in Colorado this year

There’s no question that this legislation doesn’t treat marijuana in exactly the same manner we do medicine, when we believe that the benefits outweigh the costs, which also goes to the point the Christian Action League has been making all along – smoked marijuana is not medicine. It's more like alcohol and tobacco. And this bill, no matter how well intended, is but a precursor to recreational marijuana, where the social costs of marijuana use, like alcohol and tobacco, will far exceed any amount we receive in revenues.

The Christian Action League is the oldest Christian Public Policy organization in North Carolina. The League, which networks with thousands of churches from across the state, contends traditional Christian teaching with the Holy Scriptures as a sole, infallible and sufficient guide is an indispensable support for human happiness and political prosperity. The League also believes that every Christian is obligated to be his “brother’s keeper” by peacefully seeking to influence and shape a government which secures the highest possible good for all of its citizens.

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