Update – A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA

You may remember the legislation that started out as a license plate bill for retired registers of deeds in March of 2015, but mysteriously became the “Hemp Bill” on September 28, 2015 and was ratified the next day. All this, just two days before the end of last year’s marathon legislative session. Civitas looked at the way the bill was introduced and the characters behind the resulting legislation in an article titled, A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA.

While the rushed-through legislation made industrial hemp production legal in North Carolina four months ago, this News and Observer article suggests that they haven’t raised the $200,000 in private funds needed to support the operations of the Commission. The N&O article implied that the commission will be appointed after the money is raised. This leaves us to wonder; just who is responsible for raising the money? Here is how the legislation reads:

  • 106-568.54. Limitations. The Commission shall not meet or undertake any of its powers and duties under this Article until it has obtained funding from sources other than State funds of at least two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to support operations of the Commission. Funding from non-State sources for the Commission’s activities may be returned to the donor or funder if not spent or.

While A Spy, Drug Dealers, Cronies, Hemp and the NCGA did not weigh in on the merits of the bill, we did raise questions as to the process and the cast of characters that played such a major role including Bruce Perlowin, a notorious drug dealer, his wife – a KGB spy, Republican leadership, consultants and lobbyists – all with major stakes in the success of the resulting legislation.