In the southern states, medical marijuana is still a controversial subject among lawmakers. But, North Carolina lawmakers are once again being offered the chance to pass a medical marijuana bill – and this time if it passes they will have the opportunity to let the voters have the final say on whether or not it becomes law.
The Medical Cannabis Act was introduced by Democratic Representatives Rodney Moore and Kelly Alexander – both of whom have said that it is time for medical marijuana to be available to those who need it and that they will continue to introduce legislation again and again until something is finally passed. However, with the growing support they believe that the current bill stands a much better chance of passing than any of the ones introduced previously.
“Medical marijuana is something that the public has changed its mind on, even in North Carolina,” Moore said. “There very may well be some support for this bill on the Republican side.”
If passed by both lawmakers and voters the Medical Cannabis Act would legalize medical marijuana for a list of qualifying conditions that includes cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, ALS, MS, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, severe migraines, severe nausea and several more, as well as other conditions of similar severity. The list is actually surprisingly expansive – meaning this Medical Cannabis Act would certainly help more than the mere handful of patients covered by current laws making CBD possession legal for patients with epilepsy and a physician’s recommendation.
“All the other bills that we’ve had previously, it’s been the legislators that are going to vote on if we get it or not,” Taylon Breeden, with North Carolina NORML, said. “So, what’s different about this is the bill is actually trying to decide if the voters can vote on this bill.”
Along with allowing medical marijuana for a number of conditions, the Medical Cannabis Act would also create a licensed system of cultivation, processing and dispensing similar to other states that allow medicinal cannabis. It also calls for the University of North Carolina to conduct clinical research studies on medical marijuana therapy – looking for things of all sorts including best dosages for different conditions, as well as the safety of using medical marijuana.
“This makes it where politicians that don’t want to really associate their names with medical marijuana can step back for a moment and say ‘let the people decide,’” Breeden said. “So, it doesn’t affect their coming elections either.”
If passed by lawmakers and put up for a vote on the ballot this fall it is likely that Moore and Alexander were right and this bill could be law by the end of the year. Support for medical marijuana has only grown more and more each year – and in the last couple years by a significant amount. Polls tend to show anywhere between 70-90% of Americans support the legalization of medical cannabis (depending on the survey you’re looking at). So if given the chance this fall, voters in North Carolina could prove to be just as ready to jump on board with medical marijuana legalization.