Medical marijuana may soon become a reality in the Tar Heel State.
The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee approved medical marijuana legislation with bipartisan support on Feb. 21. The legislation was approved via voice vote after several amendments were made, including one specified to ensure sales access to rural areas of the state, according to The Associated Press.
The amended legislation will likely clear the full Senate sometime this week, AP reports, and will then advance to the House, which declined to consider the measure in 2022, even after the Senate passed the bill by a 35-10 margin in June 2022.
Under the new legislation, however, medical marijuana could be legally used for a range of medical conditions, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more conditions, including those with terminal illness or receiving hospice care.
Furthermore, a proposed Medical Cannabis Production Commission would be responsible for licensing businesses to cultivate, process and sell legal medical marijuana. The Commission would award 10 licenses and each licensee could open up to eight medical cannabis centers across North Carolina. Licensees would be subject to allocating 10 percent of monthly revenues to the state.
Medical marijuana patients and consumers would have to register with the North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, and registered patients would be prohibited from consuming marijuana in public or near a church or school.
North Carolina is one of just 13 U.S. states with no legal marijuana program, be it medical or recreational. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia currently have legalized medical marijuana programs, and 21 states currently have legalized recreational cannabis.