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Morning Memo: Florida GOP governor takes N.C. Democrats approach

FLORIDA GOP GOV -- AN OBAMACARE HATER -- TAKES THE REP. INSKO APPROACH: That's right. Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who first entered politics to fight the federal health care law, is proposing to take the money for Medicaid expansion for the first three years when Washington will pay the full cost. State Rep. Verla Insko, a Chapel Hill Democrat, proposed the same thing in North Carolina, but Republican lawmakers shot it down repeatedly. "That's just completely nonsensical and doesn't work," Republican Rep. Nelson Dollar said of Inkso's idea.

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: The House is taking it easy today. A skeletal session with no recorded votes -- none until Tuesday, in fact. The Senate will convene for action at noon. But most the action will take place in the Commerce Committee where the bill to speed up and incentivize fracking with get a hearing. Gov. Pat McCrory lists no public events on his schedule. He leaves this evening for Washington to attend the National Governors Association and Republican Governors Association winter meetings. Wonder if McCrory will talk to Scott and Ohio Gov. John Kasich about how their recent decisions to expand Medicaid?

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more N.C. political news below.***

Morning Memo: Medical marijuana, topless rallies, possums on today's legislative agenda

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: Bring the Doritos and the duct tape for the House Rules Committee meeting Wednesday. The powerful panel will consider a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal use and another aimed at topless rallies in Asheville by women seeking gender equity. (The committe chairman recently suggested women could use duct tape to get around the law.) On the more serious side, a House committee will consider a measure to repeal the estate tax, even though top Senate Republicans are not interested in the issue as part of their tax proposal. The Senate Rules Committee considers the possum bill. Both chambers convene at 2 p.m.

ANN McCRORY'S INAUGURAL GOWN GOES TO MUSEUM: From AP -- North Carolina first lady Ann McCrory is turning over her inaugural gown to the N.C. Museum of History, which will include it in an exhibition about governors and their spouses. Ann McCrory's gown will be on display Wednesday evening during an event for History Museum associates. After that, it will be featured in the exhibit "Leading the State: North Carolina's Governors," which ends April 28. During the event Wednesday, Gov. Pat McCrory will speak briefly with the N.C. Museum of History Benefactors Circle and the Gold Quill Society.

Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo, a daily political tipsheet for North Carolina. Read much more below.

Medical marijuana push to begin again

Supporters of legalizing the medical use of marijuana are touting a new poll showing that a majority of North Carolinians support such a move.

A survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm in Raleigh, found that 58 percent of North Carolinians believe that physicians should have the right to prescribe marijuana for patients. Another 33 percent were opposed, and 9 percent were undecided.

Rep. Kelly Alexander, a Democrat from Charlotte, is expected to introduce a bill when the legislature convenes Wednesday, legalizing the medical use of marijuana, said Perry Parks, executive director of the N.C. Cannabis Patients Network.

Supporters of the legislation have scheduled a rally at the Legislative Building on Feb. 12.

Senate candidate to join pro marijuana rally

Libertarian Senate candidate Mike Beitler is scheduled to address a rally Saturday in Raleigh that is lobbying for legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, according to organizers.

The N.C. Cannabis Patients Network is planning a rally at 10 a.m. on Halifax Mall to push for use of marijuana to help relieve pain. Some 17 states now allow it, and a bill has previously been introduced in the legislature.

The N.C. Cannabis Patients Network has endorsed Beitler, a business professor in Greensboro.

“We must decriminalize marijuana,” Beitler said in a statement on his website. “The war on marijuana has wasted billions of dollars and destroyed the lives of many young people.

“Keeping marijuana illegal tragically keeps profits high for drug cartels,” Beitler added. “Our current drug policy is bankrupting the government, overcrowding our prisons, and rewarding drug cartels with big profits.”

Party urges legalization of medical marijuana

The state Democratic Party wants the legislature to legalize marijuana for medical use.

At its state convention this summer in Fayetteville, the delegates passed a resolution urging the legislature to legalize marijuana when prescribed by a physician as part of pain management, reports Rob Christensen.

Fourteen states have legalized the medical use of marijuana, but none of them are located in the more conservative South.

Quick Hits

* A wide-ranging federal investigation of former Gov. Mike Easley appears to be venturing into renovations of his Southport house and a marina lease that resulted in an ethics complaint against him.

* Greensboro News & Record blogger Mark Binker notes that the House Health Committee agenda for today included bills on colon hydrotherapy, medical marijuana and higher beer taxes.

* Binker also reports that Rep. John Blust, a Greensboro Republican, is engaged.

* Roll Call reports that Sen. Richard Burr, who has said it is too early to poll the 2010 Senate race, releases some internal polling data on the race. 

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