North Carolina’s medical cannabis bill has passed the Senate Finance Committee, the second committee on its way to a potential floor vote in the Senate, according to Port City Daily. Known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, the legislation has two more committees to pass before making it to the Senate floor in the push to pass medical cannabis this year in the state.
Backed by powerful Rules Chairman Sen. Bill Rabon (R) and a bi-partisan cadre of Senators, the legislation heads next to the Senate Healthcare Committee, followed by the Rules Committee.
Championed by veterans groups, in addition to including qualifying conditions like cancer and HIV/AIDS, the bill includes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying condition.
During a hearing, Rob Rens, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran testified that his “position on it has always been that we’re aware of the veteran suicide issue.”
“We know what it is, and we know that opiates, uppers and downers—what we call the combat cocktail—is not having the right effect that it should, and we need to seek out some alternatives.”— Rens, in his testimony, via Port City Daily
Rens says he has been meeting with mostly Republicans to assure them the legislation is not a slippery slope to adult-use cannabis.
Rabin and other sponsors have been pitching the bill as the most restrictive medical cannabis bill in the country. Under the legislation, licensees would be responsible for owning their facilities and participating in seed-to-sale tracking. Ten supplier licenses would be available and each licensee would be allowed four dispensaries, capping retail outlets at 40 statewide. A license would cost $50,000 with a $10,000 renewal fee. The state Department of Health and Human Services would get 10% of medical cannabis revenue under the proposal.
Phil Dixon, a University of North Carolina School of Government assistant professor described the bill as “narrow” and “makes the modest acknowledgment that there’s therapeutic value to the substance for certain conditions.”
He sees the patchwork of cannabis laws in North Carolina as a place for needed reform.
“There are several counties that are not pursuing low-level marijuana possession prosecutions anymore at all. In other places they’re still aggressively prosecuting them,” he said in the report. “That’s a hot mess, and long term, that’s an issue that needs to be dealt with.”
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