North Carolina’s Senate introduced medical cannabis legislation this week, and now the measure is gaining support.
The new bill, Senate Bill 711, would regulate medical cannabis for a list of qualifying conditions: cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other serious conditions.
According to the bill, “modern medical research has found that cannabis and cannabinoid compounds are effective at alleviating pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with several debilitating medical conditions.”
“A registry identification cardholder shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession or purchase of cannabis for medical use by the qualified patient if the quantity of usable cannabis possessed or purchased does not exceed an adequate supply, as determined by the qualified patient’s physician,” the bill states.
This is not the first time that a medical cannabis bill has been introduced in North Carolina. However, while other, nearby states like Virginia move forward with recreational or medical cannabis legalization, North Carolina is yet to have any luck.
However, advocates hope that this time will be different. Senator Bill Rabon, a Republican and chairman of the Senate Rules committee, has come on board, showing his support. He adds more bipartisan support to the bill that is already backed by Republicans and Democrats alike and is a key decider in North Carolina politics.
With more politicians signing on, it is clear that the bill’s message is resonating with many.
“We’ve got to use something other than opiates to deal with the pain issue,” said Senator Paul Lowe, Democrat, who also supports the bill. “That’s the bottom line.”
The bill does not take any recreational measures, but it would be a key first step in setting up a licensing structure and legalizing grows, suppliers and dispensaries, which could help lay the groundwork for a future, fully legal industry.