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North Carolina House Panel Rejects Legalization Bill

A North Carolina state House committee unanimously rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana after an emotional hour-long hearing that ended with a legislator saying he was assaulted by a marijuana advocate.

House Bill 78 marks the most progress any marijuana proposal has had in the N.C. General Assembly. Two years ago, a similar bill was directed to the House Rules Committee, where Republican leaders allowed four people to speak before cutting off discussion and killing the bill.

Wednesday’s hearing took place in the more prominent House Judiciary I Committee, and more than a dozen people spoke about the proposal in a packed meeting room. “For those in the room speaking today, this is huge – that you’re even here allowed to speak before the Judiciary I Committee,” said Rep. Becky Carney, a Charlotte Democrat who co-sponsored the bill. “That’s a big step. It’s not a defeat.”

Other supporters of medical marijuana didn’t see the result that way. Some vowed to move to another state, and one man was detained by police after Rep. Dean Arp said he was struck in the back. Arp declined to press charges, and the man was released after writing an apology letter. [Read more from the Raleigh News and Observer]

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