Smoky Mountain News, 1/29/2020
Another issue that Clampitt somewhat unwittingly found himself at the center of a few years back was the debate over cannabis, both medical and recreational. As more and more states — most recently, Illinois — continue the march toward nationwide recreational legalization, it’s not far-fetched to imagine that debate playing out in the North Carolina General Assembly over the next few years.
“I don’t immediately see a trend to legalize recreational marijuana, simply because some say it’s a gateway drug and some say it’s not,” he said. “Now, the CBD and the cannabis that’s used for pain management, you know I do see a use for that medically. Given the group that will hopefully be elected, I don’t see legalization of the intoxicating form of cannabis.”
Clampitt shifted the conversation to marijuana, the legal status of which has polarized people around the nation.
“One of the number one emails I get has to do with marijuana as an alternative type drug,” he said, noting that many think it could be a better, safer pain killer than opioids.
“When I say I’m not for recreational marijuana, I mean I’m not for recreational marijuana,” he said.”But I am for medicinal marijuana that doesn’t have the hallucinogens.”
However, those in attendance quickly learned that Clampitt’s opinions on medicinal marijuana are a bit murkier than his stance on recreational pot. Although he couldn’t provide a concrete answer on when medicinal marijuana should be prescribed, he did admit that it benefitted someone close to him — at least initially.
He told an anecdote about how his father, who had both a kidney and his gall bladder removed and was living in Portland, Oregon. He was prescribed marijuana in the form of edible chocolate bars.
“What I’m envisioning is taking an elderly gentleman sitting in a recliner with a cat on his lap taking a big draw, going, 'oh this is some good stuff. I feel great,’” Clampitt said.
Initially, he loved it. Clampitt even joked about trying to get his own hands on some pot.
“You get these little squares and they're 30 bucks or whatever. And I say, I know what I want for Christmas,” he said as the crowd collectively chuckled, “She said, ‘no we’re not sending it to you.’ So I said, ‘fine, I’m flying out there for New Years.’”
However, when his father received his second batch, he had an adverse reaction and developed a rapid heartbeat.
“When we solve that problem, we can create another problem," Clampitt said.
Despite his vague feelings on medicinal marijuana, Clampitt was in favor of growing hemp, which contains negligible amounts of THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
“It’s being looked at as North Carolina’s next cash crop,” he said of hemp.
Holds office State House District 119
In response to 2020 NC Family Policy Council’s question, "Should NC legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes?" Clampitt answered YES
With the note "NON-THC"
A 'D' letter grade indicates that this candidate has expressed no support for any significant marijuana law reform, though they may have cosponsored/voted for legislation for minor reform (CBD/hemp).
Did not respond to NC NORML's 2020 Primary Questionnaire