Senators Rabon, Lee file first bill of new session to legalize medical marijuana

Senators Rabon, Lee file first bill of new session, to legalize medical marijuana
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 8:05 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - On the first day bills could be filed in the new General Assembly session, Senators Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) filed Senate Bill 3, which would legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina.

“Modern medical research has found that cannabis and cannabinoid compounds are effective at alleviating pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with several debilitating medical conditions,” the text of the bill reads. “As of January 2023, more than a majority of states, four out of five permanently inhabited United States territories, and the District of Columbia have removed state-level criminal penalties for the medical use, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis, and in enacting this Article, North Carolina now takes similar action to preserve and enhance the health and welfare of its citizens. This Article is intended to make only those changes to existing North Carolina laws that are necessary to protect patients and their doctors from criminal and civil penalties and is not intended to change current civil and criminal laws governing the use of cannabis for nonmedical purposes.”

The North Carolina Compassionate Care Act lists many debilitating medical conditions for which doctors could prescribe medical marijuana as part of a patient’s treatment, including cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

According to the bill’s summary posted on the NCGA website, SB3 would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to issue “registry identification cards” to anyone who would qualify to be prescribed medical marijuana by a licensed physician, and set standards for doctors to issue that prescription.

Sen. Rabon and Sen. Lee introduced a similar bill during last year’s short session of the legislature. It passed the senate by a 36-7 vote on June 6, 2022, but never made it out of the Rules Committee in the House of Representatives.

You can read the entire text of the bill, and the digest breakdown, by clicking here.