Smoking debate: Group petitions to legalize medical cannabis

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A group hopes to make North Carolina the 19th state to legalize medical cannabis. On Wednesday, State Representative Kelly Alexander, who represents the Charlotte area, introduced a bill called "Medical Cannabis Act."

Perry Parks with North Carolina Cannabis Patients Network told NewsChannel 12 he's been very supportive of the drug. The retired veteran believes marijuana can help people, especially those in the military deal who with medical issues like PTSD.

"I'm just saying if a veteran is injured and cannabis provides a better treatment then we need to change the law," said Parks.

According to Parks, if a veteran lives in a state with an approved cannabis program, they can participate in the program without any penalties.

"If there's any chance cannabis can help them, it is immoral to deny it; these things that we know are true," said Parks.

A petition on has generated more than 15,000 signatures, which is less than 5,000 signatures away from the goal of getting lawmakers' attention.

A survey by Public Policy Polling shows 58% of people in North Carolina support legalization of marijuana.

The issue goes before the legislature on February 12th. If passed, Parks believes this will be a better use of taxpayers' money.

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