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With public support of legalization high, a look at federal and state marijuana policy

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What was once an underground industry is set to boom with legal sales topping $33 billion this year. We're talking about marijuana. Changing attitudes and laws are bringing it out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational use, and many others allow its medical use.

Federal policy, however, hasn’t changed. It’s still illegal as is the case in both North and South Carolina. But in the upcoming short session, North Carolina’s legislature may change that, allowing the drug’s medical use.

We look at the patchwork of laws surrounding pot, our nation’s changing attitude toward it and where all this is headed.

Guests

Natalie Fertig, federal cannabis policy reporter for Politico

Mona Zhang, states cannabis policy reporter for Political

Paul Lowe, North Carolina state senator (Democrat-Forsyth County), a primary sponsor of the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize medical marijuana.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.