The North Carolina Senate has approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state and sent it to the House. The legislation was first filed by Senate Rules and Operations Committee Chairman Bill Rabon last year and was cleared by the Senate before being blocked by House Republicans.
Rabon refiled the bill in late January amid statements from a key chamber leader that the bill was “well-constructed” and addresses a lot of key concerns.
The medical marijuana bill was approved by three separate committees and received initial approval on the Senate floor a day before advancing in a 36–10 vote.
The bill would allow patients suffering from a “debilitating medical condition” to use cannabis for medical purposes. Conditions that would qualify North Carolina residents for medical marijuana include post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and HIV/Aids.
The legislation would also allow a maximum of 10 vertically integrated medical marijuana suppliers operating up to eight dispensaries. It would also establish a Compassionate Use Advisory Board to add new medical conditions to the list of qualifying conditions and create a separate Medical Cannabis Production Commission to handle medical cannabis supply and licensing, and generate revenue to run the state’s medical cannabis program.
A North Carolina Cannabis Research Program would be charged with undertaking scientific research on the medical administration of marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
The legislation’s language states that it is only meant to make changes to North Carolina laws that ensure patients and their physicians are protected from civil and criminal properties.
Speaking before the Senate floor vote, Rabon said that law enforcement would have access to databases and records that allow them to verify if patients are eligible for medical marijuana and if suppliers are in compliance with state law.
Although the bill did not advance past House GOP lawmakers last year, Rabon believes it has more support in the House this year.
House Speaker Tim Moore said that he believes that more than 50% of the lawmakers in his chamber support medical marijuana reform and that he won’t be surprised if the bill advances past the House.
The legislation features some of the strictest provisions in the entire country, with Rabon saying numerous times that he wrote the bill to make it one of the strictest in the United States. It would regulate medical cannabis tightly and only allow those with debilitating medical conditions to access the plant, Rabon said, adding that recreational cannabis use would remain illegal under his bill.
Many players in the cannabis industry as well as those in ancillary niches such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are likely to follow the events in the North Carolina legislature closely to see how the bill fares.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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