North Carolina on track to legalize medical marijuana

The North Carolina State Senate passed the Compassionate Care Act, legalizing the use of medical marijuana on Thursday.

Senate Bill 711 passed with bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled Senate with a 35-10 vote, securing its way to the state House of Representatives where it is expected to meet more opposition.

The bill would authorize the prescription of medical marijuana for 15 medical conditions including cancer, PTSD, epilepsy and Crohn’s disease. Notable exemptions on this list include glaucoma, anxiety, chronic pain and opioid addiction, which are typically covered by other states’ bills, according to The New & Observer.

Republican North Carolina State Senator Bill Rabon, lead sponsor of the bill, has expressed urgency to legalize medical marijuana due to colon cancer that nearly claimed his life 20 years ago . He said he believed marijuana could make a significant difference in the quality of life for people with chronic conditions. Rabon told the Assembly, “Every session we wait, every day we wait, someone is going to suffer who could benefit.”

Delmer Langley, owner of DEL Hemp Farm — Wilson County’s only commercial hemp grower — told the Daily Caller that if Bill 711 becomes law, the plan is to expand to medical marijuana, but noted that might be difficult due to licensing. “I would love to do that, but they’ll only distribute 10 licenses in North Carolina, and then 10 licenses can have four brokers,” Langley said. (RELATED: California doctor loses license after prescribing cannabis to four-year-old child)

Under the current version of the bill, only 10 medical marijuana supplier licenses would be issued, according to cannabis outlet MJBizDaily. Under each of these licenses, each holder is authorized to open up to four dispensaries.

Democratic State Senator Julie Mayfield has expressed concern about the vertical structure of these licenses that favor large corporations, the outlet noted.

Langley said he was confident the Compassionate Care Act would pass the state legislature. “I don’t know why it won’t pass the House,” he said. “I spoke to reps, and they said everyone signed up pretty quickly. Langley declined to comment on whether he thought Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper would sign the bill if it made it to his office.

RALEIGH, NC – MAY 17: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper addresses the crowd at election night for Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

According to Smoke The Vote Initiate of NORML, a pro-marijuana reform organization, gave Cooper a “B” grade due to his history of supporting studies indicating the positive benefits of medical marijuana as well as founding the group. Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice (TREC) which recommended decriminalizing possession of marijuana. According to a 2016 candidate guide from the Huffington Post, Cooper wants to move slowly and study the impact in states that have legalized it.

The Daily Caller contacted Governor Cooper’s office for comment, but received no response.

Leave a Comment