While advocates of legalizing medical marijuana in North Carolina are cautiously optimistic, they note that such a widespread change in the state’s laws could take several years to unfold even if the measure passes the legislature.
On Monday, the North Carolina Senate took the first steps toward ending prohibition in the Tar Heel State by voting 13-8 in favor of a bill to decriminalize cannabis oil for qualifying patients. The measure now heads to the state House, which has already approved a similar bill. The new measure would allow patients to possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis oil, which is typically used to ease the pain of cancer and other serious medical conditions. It would also permit patients to obtain the oil from a registered dispensary. “It is time for North Carolina to join the majority of the country in ending cannabis prohibition and providing patients with the medical care they deserve,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Senators who voted
On January 22, the North Carolina Senate voted to advance a medical marijuana bill, despite vocal opposition from the public. If passed, Senate Bill 12, dubbed “The Charlotte’s Web Medical Cannabis Act” would allow those with qualifying conditions to possess, use, and cultivate marijuana (and oils derived from it), but would exclude people caught with more than 100 grams of the substance.. Read more about nc legalization bill and let us know what you think.
The North Carolina Senate continues to work on a measure that would legalize medicinal marijuana in the state, which is one of the last in the nation to do so.
After a short debate on the taxes and other income it could bring to North Carolina if approved, senators in the Finance Committee passed the measure on Wednesday. No one knew a precise figure, but based on the experience of other states, it would very certainly bring in tens of millions of dollars each year.
For example, the News & Observer previously reported that Michigan made $45 million from medical marijuana last year. It has similar marijuana tax structures as what North Carolina is proposing, and around the same size population.
Some members of the public came to the General Assembly on Wednesday to urge legislators that businesses should be charged even more money than the bill proposes to obtain a license to sell marijuana in this state.
Pat Oglesby, a Chapel Hill tax attorney who has researched and worked on marijuana legalization problems in other states, said, “I believe y’all are leaving a lot of money on the table here.”
A Maryland dispensary recently sold for $8 million, according to Oglesby. The law in North Carolina proposes charging dispensaries $50,000 to get a license and an additional $10,000 each year to maintain it, with further costs if they establish several sites. According to Oglesby, such figures should be higher.
Others, on the other hand, were concerned that increased taxes and levies would be passed on to patients in the form of higher prices. And, if dispensary prices become too expensive, patients may choose to purchase marijuana from drug traffickers rather than via legal channels, according to numerous sources.
Due to a tumor, Scott Lewis of Creedmore believes he would qualify for medicinal marijuana if the law passes. However, he questioned why marijuana requires a higher-than-normal sales tax, as well as additional expenses for growing equipment and dispensary fees.
Lewis told legislators, “The patient will pay that,” later adding, “I’m going to the black market if you put a 10%, 18% tax on it.”
In the end, legislators paid little attention to either side and maintained the same tax and charge rates.
Marijuana, according to opponents of the law, is so hazardous that allowing physicians to prescribe it to their patients, even in restricted situations, is not worth the millions of cash it would bring to the state.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Rev. Mark Creech, head of the Christian Action League, said, “The societal cost… would far outweigh any amount we may earn in income.”
Sen. Bill Rabon of New Brunswick County, the bill’s primary sponsor, said he has been working with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to seek their input on public health concerns.
He added, “We met with DHHS, and they had some really excellent suggestions that we’re going to incorporate.”
The bill’s opponents, including Creech and other conservative Christian leaders, constitute a tiny minority. A recent Elon University survey showed that almost three-quarters of North Carolinians approve medicinal marijuana, with a slight majority favoring complete legalization.
SB 711 does not go so far as to completely legalize marijuana. And its Republican backers have attempted to address critics’ worries. They’ve said at every hearing the bill has had so far in the legislature that they deliberately designed it such that if it passes, North Carolina would have the toughest medical marijuana regulations in the nation.
Physicians would be able to prescribe marijuana for a fewer number of medical conditions than in many other states, and there would be stringent restrictions on how businesses may produce, promote, and sell marijuana if it were legal for doctors to prescribe.
With Wednesday’s vote, the measure has now cleared two of the four committees it has to clear before going to the Senate floor for a formal vote, which may come in the coming days or weeks.
The Senate’s health care and rules committees are the last remaining roadblocks. Republican Sen. Michael Lee, one of the bill’s sponsors, is a member of the health-care committee, while Rabon, the bill’s primary sponsor, is the head of the rules committee.
Given that, and the fact that the measure has received near-unanimous approval in committee, it seems to be heading for a vote on the Senate floor shortly, barring a surprise rebellion in the Republican caucus.
However, even if it passes the Senate, it isn’t the end of the story. It would then have to go through the same procedure in the House of Representatives, where the Republican majority may support it, reject it, or make changes.
Democrats in both houses favor the idea, but some argue that it should not be as severe as the measure’s supporters desire. Some Democratic legislators have advocated for complete legalization, as Virginia recently did along with a number of other states, while others have requested — so far unsuccessfully — for the list of medical conditions to be extended to include chronic pain and migraines.
Only a few medical conditions are presently on the proposed list, including cancer, PTSD, and sickle cell anemia.
North Carolina is in the midst of a crucial debate, where legislators are trying to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill passed the Senate last night, but opponents are trying to derail it. The bill would create a program where patients with certain illnesses could use marijuana legally with a prescription from a doctor. The ones who are in favor of the bill say it could have a huge impact on the lives of those who suffer from debilitating conditions.. Read more about north carolina medical marij 2020 list of conditions and let us know what you think.
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