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NC lawmakers not high on legalizing marijuana for tax money

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- When most people think of pot, there is a negative connotation. But in Colorado, it's proving to be a cash crop.

The state was the first to legalize the drug and started selling it in January. In one month marijuana brought more than $2 million in tax revenue.

So could it help cash-strapped north carolina? Area politicians do not think it has bright future along Tobacco Road, or at least its recreational use.

"It is going to take a real change of heart of the North Carolina people," Sen. Thom Goolsby (R-9th District) said. "We tend to be overall... we don't even have liquor by the drink in every county in North Carolina. We don't even have Sunday hunting."

Marijuana is taxed at nearly 13 percent in Colorado. From just the first month of sales alone, almost $200,000 will go back to schools around the state.

But some here do not think the added cash is enough to justify possibly greater societal affects.

"If you have a lot of people that are using marijuana that didn't used to, how could that be positive?" Rep. Rick Catlin (R-20th District) said.

Other state lawmakers are exploring the use of medicinal marijuana. Rep. Pat McElraft (R-13th District) is filing a bill to legalize an oil extracted from the cannabis plant that she says would help kids who suffer seizures.

Although Rep. Ted Davis (r-19th District) says he does not support the legalization of pot, he said he is open to hearing about medical use.

"If it was for that purpose that would be the only purpose it would be used for and not for commercial use or personal pleasure," Davis said.

So for now, it does not look like people in North Carolina will be using pot legally any time soon.

Rep. Frank Iler (R-17th District) also said he was not for legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-18th District) said she has co-sponsored the medical marijuana bill every year she has been in the House of Representatives.

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