The North Carolina Senate on Tuesday passed a medical cannabis legalization bill, WRAL reports. It marks the second year in a row the chamber has approved a medical cannabis bill; however, the measure died in the House in 2022.
The bill received bipartisan support, passing by a 36-10 margin. The legislation is largely the same as the measure that passed the Senate by a 36-7 vote last year.
Republican state Sen. Bill Rabon, the bill’s lead sponsor, told WRAL that he believes the reforms have more support in the House this year. The measure was never brought up for a vote in 2022.
“The purpose of the bill is to allow for tightly regulated use of medical cannabis, only by those with debilitating illnesses … The recreational sale or use of marijuana remains, under this legislation, illegal.” — Rabon, during the Senate debate, via WRAL
The qualifying conditions list to allow patients to access medical cannabis includes cancer, epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or persistent nausea in a person who is not pregnant that is related to end-of-life or hospice care, or who is bedridden or homebound because of a condition, terminal illness when the patient’s remaining life expectancy is less than six months, and conditions resulting in the individual receiving hospice care, according to the bill text.
The Senate-approved version includes stricter rules on marketing than the previous version, allowing 10 companies to sell medical cannabis with a maximum of eight stores each. The measure moves next to the House after a second, confirmation vote on Wednesday.
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