Source: The News & Observer
The North Carolina House convened last week to consider a medical marijuana legalization bill – more than three months after the Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support, The News & Observer reported.
Senate Bill 3, known as the “Compassionate Care Act” was added to the House’s schedule for discussion only, so no votes were taken last week.
The bill allows medical marijuana use across the state for those who have specific conditions, such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, PTSD and others. The bill does not allow for recreational use and does not cover things such as chronic pain, as many other states do.
The bill also limits permits and includes new regulations.
The bill passed the Senate last year as well, but died in the House. This year could be a different story.
House Speaker Tim Moore said earlier this year that the Compassionate Care Act had “decent prospects of passage” because opinion on the bill shifted in the House.
“Last year when we didn’t take it up, it was overwhelmingly opposed by most of the caucus,” Moore said. This year, he said, with many new House members, “attitudes have changed, and I think some folks have had an opportunity, once they were back home and met with folks, to see that there’s some potentially legitimate uses for this,” such as the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to The News & Observer.
Moore said that in order for the bill to pass, there must be “reasonable controls” and a balance that would help prevent distributors from getting a monopoly, while at the same time “not just throwing the door wide open where you have these things literally on every street corner.”
Republican Sens. Bill Rabon and Michael Lee, as well as Democratic Sen. Paul Lowe, sponsored the bill.
Many marijuana legalization activists have said this bill is too restrictive and will prevent many people who could benefit from using cannabis from actually being able to do so.
Medical marijuana legalization is one of the highest polling programs in North Carolina and there is significant support among all political groups.
A February poll conducted by Meredith College found massive support for a medical marijuana program in North Carolina with 73% of all voters saying they support it.
Every political affiliation strongly supported the idea, including 91% of Democrats, 77% of unaffiliated voters and 64% of Republicans.