Lawmakers in North Carolina filed a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
A complete turnaround from the old bill, the new legislation, “North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act,” would allow all forms of marijuana consumption to treat illnesses, including smoking dried plant material.
Similar to many other states, residents who met the qualifying health requirements would be given a state issued identification card allowing them to purchase and possess medical marijuana. This legislation also establishes a regulatory body to oversee the licensing of medical marijuana cultivators, producers and retailers. Once the retailers are up and running, registered patients would be permitted to purchase all forms of medical marijuana from a medical dispensary.
In July of 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill into law allows the use of cannabinoid oil to treat specific seizure disorders. The bill is extremely narrow – only available to patients in clinical trials.
Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have been pushing for changes to the bill since it passed, citing it’s restrictive nature.
Legislators in Iowa and Kentucky have been scrutinized recently for approving similarly limited and restrictive medical marijuana laws because they do not allow patients safe access to the medicine. Possession of the cannabinoid oil is legal for patients residing in these states who suffer from very specific forms of epilepsy, but these laws do not establish a legal system for producing or distributing the oil to these patients. This means that they are still forced to break the law by either carrying the medicine across state lines or risking growing and producing the oil themselves at home in order to legally possess it.
Details of this bill and which lawmakers are behind are still developing, we’ll update this post as information becomes available.