A wave of cannabis reform is sweeping across America, and the country’s most conservative states are taking notice. At the moment, more than 30 states allow medical cannabis use for patients with qualifying conditions, and there are several more medical cannabis bills in state legislatures. Studies have found the controversial plant to be capable of treating conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain and epilepsy, and a majority of Americans are behind medical cannabis use.
Conservative states have been slow to adopt cannabis reform, with most of them outlawing recreational cannabis and launching some of the strictest medical cannabis programs in the country. Still, there has been an influx of medical cannabis bills in Republican-controlled states, and advocates are hoping even the most conservative states will eventually see the potential of cannabis.
North Carolina’s medical marijuana program has the support of Republican Sen. Bill Rabon, who is also the chair of the Rules Committee in the state senate. The program would see patients suffering from debilitating medical ailments such as glaucoma, epilepsy, and cancer gain access to medical marijuana. According to the founder of NC Cann (a legalization advocacy group) Garrett Perdue, Rabon’s backing affords the legislation ‘decent chances’ of making it past the Senate wall.
The Alabama House recently passed the medical cannabis bill with a 68 to 34 vote. The bill had initially been passed by the Senate in February before heading to the governor’s desk. While Republican Gov. Kay Ivey already passed other fairly limited medical marijuana bills in the state’s past, it is unclear whether she supports broad cannabis legalization.
Kansas probably won’t pass a medical marijuana bill this year despite having a Democratic governor who is a vocal supporter of legalizing medical cannabis. Although the Kansas House passed a draft bill to make medical marijuana legal by a 78 to 42 vote, the bill didn’t go past the state Senate. Still, the Senate has referred the bill to committee and plans to pick it up next January, so all hope is not lost.
Texas, which is home to a limited medical cannabis program, recently approved a bill to expand the state’s program. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick, and it will expand Texas’ list of eligible conditions from intractable epilepsy to include autism, PTSD and multiple sclerosis (“MS”). It would also raise the maximum THC limit from 0.5% to 5%.
Minnesota is also on track to expand its relatively limited medical cannabis program. This would include an end to the prohibition of cannabis flower products, which cannabis reform supporters say has made medical cannabis too expensive and reduced enrollment in the state’s medical cannabis program.
As these conservative states enact cannabis laws, a time may come when national policies will be eased thereby creating uniform laws which sector players such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) can analyze as companies ponder how to make their entry into the U.S. market.
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