Happy day to you, Campers!
We have an update in regards to the legalization of medical marijuana in North Carolina! After a rather hectic short-session, the NC General Assembly decided against passing legislation that would allow patients access to medical marijuana. Dubbed as one of the strictest acts of marijuana legislation in the country, SB. 711 (NC’s Compassion Care Act) was met with concerns from both sides of the fence. The list of qualifying conditions to receive medical marijuana was generalized and did not include patients who suffer from chronic pain. An amendment was later added in August by the Senate Judiciary committee to include patients with terminal illness, or those who had less than 6 months to live. Concerns were also cited with local, North Carolina hemp farmers. The Compassion Care Act only allowed for up to 10 suppliers (for the state) to control both the cultivation and sale of marijuana; each supplier could have up to 4 operating facilities. There are nearly 1,500 registered hemp farmers in North Carolina – that’s quite the disparity. In addition to established farmers fearing they wouldn’t be able to take part in this lucrative industry, having so few operating facilities nationwide would drastically reduce patient access for our rural communities.
Ultimately, on June 15th 2022, the House GOP’s voted against pursuing SB. 711, citing that it needed additional research and study. The House did however, submit an amendment to our states’ Controlled Substances Act, which would include THC medications, should the FDA actually approve them. SB. 448 – which was later signed by Governor Roy Cooper – outlines an exemption made to Schedule VI of our Controlled Substances Act. This exemption would include prescriptions medications containing THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Sen. Jim Burgin, chair of Senate Health Care Committee and Health and Human Services Appropriation Committee, expressed the viability of having THC medications tested by the FDA. He also cited concerns surrounding the smoking epidemic in America and marijuana legalization: “My big concern is we are going to introduce a product that is going to be another smoking issue. We spent billions of dollars to [get people] to stop smoking and stop the harmful effects of smoking, and now we are going to reintroduce smoking potentially to a big part of the population, and that concerns me.”
Presently, medical marijuana legalization is stalled in North Carolina, but don’t fret, Campers! We’ll keep you updated as legislation progresses. As of July 2022, the federal Senate introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill that’s expected to go to a vote soon! To learn more, check out our latest blog post: Pot Decriminalization Bill Heads to Senate.