RALEIGH, N.C. — The push to legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina is back underway at the General Assembly, with a bill that failed to clear key legislative hurdles last year beginning that journey again.
The measure was discussed in the Senate Judiciary committee on Wednesday, but a vote on it was postponed till next Tuesday, Feb. 21. If it passes that committee, as expected, it will move to the Senate Finance committee for more discussion.
Senate Bill 3 is functionally the same measure state lawmakers debated last year. It would legalize marijuana prescriptions for about a dozen named conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s, as well as any terminal illness. It also sets up a “Compassionate Use Advisory Board” that can add more conditions in the future.
At Wednesday’s hearing, cannabis activist Chris Suttle was one of several speakers who urged lawmakers to expand the list to cover other issues, like reducing opioid use for chronic pain.
“Let your physician decide whether you need to continue to keep taking opioids for something,” Suttle said. “If you do not want to continue taking opioids, then you should be allowed to have medicinal cannabis be one of the solutions that you can look at with your physician.”
Another speaker, Joe Wescott, a Triangle resident who spoke in favor of the bill, told the panel he had lost both parents to Alzheimer’s. He called attention to recent research showing medical marijuana could help patients…
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