Good afternoon, Happy Campers!
We have an update to a prior article referencing North Carolina’s Compassion Care Act – a bill introduced to the Senate that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. While its first attempt failed during the Summer of 2021, it recently regained traction during the General Assembly’s annual short session. It’s set to be voted on by our state Senate as early as Thursday of this week. We’re all on stems and seeds awaiting their verdict!
Just to unpack the tent on NC’s Compassionate Care Act:
- Patients with qualifying conditions would have access to cannabis for medicinal purposes. Such conditions include: cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Patients could possess up to 1(½) ounce of cannabis.
- Home cultivation is not permitted.
- Patients eligibility for the program has to be reassessed annually.
- Approved cannabis products include edibles, waxes, topicals, smokeables, tinctures, capsules, and tablets. (Referencing the bill direct: “…a tablet, a capsule, a concentrated liquid or viscous oil, a liquid suspension, a topical preparation, a transdermal preparation, a sublingual preparation, a gelatinous cube, gelatinous rectangular cuboid, lozenge in a cube or rectangular cuboid shape, a resin or wax.”)
- Allotted 10 medical suppliers for the state. Each supplier can operate up to 4 facilities. (there is a proposed addendum to extend that to up to 8 facilities)
- A Compassion Use Advisory Board would be established to continually update the list of approved qualifying conditions.
- A Medical Cannabis Production Commission would be established for regulatory purposes. Their primary focus would be patient cannabis supply and revenue generation for program funding.
- The North Carolina Cannabis Research Program would be established to further delve into cannabis and its effectiveness as medical treatment. “…undertake objective, scientific research regarding the administration of cannabis or cannabis-infused products as part of medical treatment.”
While many see this as a progressive move for North Carolina, there are many operating within its legalized hemp industry that are concerned with the logistics of this legislation. Only 10 medical suppliers licenses will be issued for the state – that’s offsetting the nearly 2,000 registered hemp farmers already established and working within the industry. While there is a proposed bill (Senate Bill 792) that is also set to be voted on this month, the current legal hemp industry is unsure of how to approach NC’s Compassion Care Act. Senate Bill 792 would legalize hemp and remove it from the state’s list of controlled substances. NC’s Compassion Care Act doesn’t have protections in place for its current, and rapidly growing hemp industry. We’re going to have to continue to sit around the campfire with this one, folks. We’ll keep you posted as this bill moves onto the Senate floor!