North Carolina Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill; 72% Of Bipartisan Voters Support This, But What Will House Do?

North Carolina Senate passed a medical marijuana bill Monday in a 36-7 vote, after first giving its initial approval to the measure last week. Senate bill 711 or N.C. Compassionate Care Act is now heading to the House, where is expected it will face more opposition and could be stalled for a while, reported  

If passed into law, the measure would allow cannabis with higher levels of THC to treat debilitating conditions such as cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. It provides extensive regulations on everything from advertising to testing as well as licensing and packaging. Smoking and vaping would only be permitted if recommended by a physician. However, home cultivation will not be allowed. Only 10 suppliers will be licensed to cultivate, process, and sell cannabis at a maximum of 80 dispensaries across The Old North State.

Legislators, trying to conclude the short legislative session by July 4, and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) highlighted that he doesn’t believe House Republicans will be willing to take up the proposal before then. 

 “I don't see an appetite to take that up in the shorter session,” said Moore.

What is interesting is that Senate Bill 711 is co-sponsored by two Republicans –Sen. Bill Rabon and Sen. Michael Lee - and one Democrat – Sen. Paul Lowe. 

“This bill is going to, in my opinion, help a lot of people at the end of their life at a time that they need some compassion,” Rabon said earlier. “We have looked at other states, the good and the bad (...) And we have, if not perfected, we have done a better job than anyone so far.”

Upon Senate’s initial approval last week, Sen. Lowe (D) praised his Republican colleagues for understanding the difference and importance of the medical marijuana bill versus the recreational bill.

 “This is a medical cannabis bill,” Lowe said. “It’s not recreational. It does not do all of the things a recreational bill would do, and that’s for another day. But right now I believe this bill will help some North Carolinians.”  

Voters On The Same Page As Senate 

Apparently, New Carolina voters agree, and as much as 72% of bipartisan registered voters support medical cannabis legalization, according to a Wral news online survey from April. The 72% backers of the medical marijuana measure are 64% Republicans, 75% Democrats and 78% unaffiliated voters.

Photo: Courtesy of Jeff W on Unsplash

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