The first guest on the Carolina Cannabis News podcast is North Carolina Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr. (D-107). He is a state legislator who has filed cannabis reform bills in the N.C. General Assembly for a decade, though he’s not the first or only to do so. And he says he’ll file another one in January 2019 when the NCGA returns for its long session.

In this podcast, Alexander discusses the history of cannabis reform efforts in the NCGA and his reasoning for pushing the issue.

He also explains how you can help him and his fellow legislators as they work to create a Joint Legislative Cannabis Caucus — itself sparked to life by a questioner at Alexander’s Aug. 18 Medical Cannabis Town Hall.

[READ: No one attended the NCGA cannabis caucus meeting]

“The industry, if we’re not careful, is going to be developed in all of these other states … if we’re the last to the party we’ll be the last to get any of the benefits,” he says after pointing out that North Carolina’s Research Triangle has scientists eager to put their stamp on the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Of some of his fellow legislators, he says, “I’ve had members tell me, just flat out, that they can’t vote for (my cannabis bills) in committee because that would be seen as giving their opponents within their party the opportunity to run against them in a primary claiming that they’re too liberal. But I continue to stress that this issue isn’t about being liberal or conservative … this is about elementary human dignity and the ability of individuals to make choices.”

“… this is about elementary human dignity and the ability of  individuals to make choices.”

– Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr.

This inaugural episode is sponsored by Mitty’s CBD Cafe, located inside Vigor in Southend Charlotte. The podcast is recorded at Crash Studios and produced by Bridget B. Sullivan. Photography credit: Grant Baldwin.

Carolina Cannabis News Editor Rhiannon Fionn (left) interviews NC House Rep. Kelly Alexander Jr. (Dist. 107) for the inaugural recording of the Carolina Cannabis News Podcast. Aug. 23, 2018.
Know where your legislators stand
Alexander says you need to know where your legislators stand on cannabis reform. He urges you to call them, attend their town halls and write letters asking for their position on cannabis. “You’ve got to urge them to support change,” he says.

You’ll have a chance to let Alexander know your thoughts on cannabis reform. On Oct. 12, his campaign is hosting a birthday party for him at Petra’s in Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood. (RSVP via the Facebook event page.)

Oct. 12 is the last day you can register to vote in North Carolina if you wish to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. Oct. 17 — which is Alexander’s actual birthday — is the day early voting begins in the state.

N.C . State Senator Jeff Jackson, Mecklenburg County Commissioner At-Large Pat Cotham, Mark Jerrell — County Commissioner-Elect for District 4 — and Judge Alicia Brooks will also be in attendance at the Oct. 12 early voting kick off party.

BY Rhiannon Fionn

BY Rhiannon Fionn

Editor & Publisher

Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.