North Carolina Senate approves plans to legalize medical cannabis and hemp

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The North Carolina Senate voted last Thursday to legalize medical cannabis. The measure still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before being forwarded to the governor.

Eight Republicans and two Democrats, including Senator Don Davis, a congressional candidate in the state’s First District, opposed the bill.

The NC Compassionate Care Act would authorize medical cannabis for a restricted list of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV, AIDS and Crohn’s disease. Chronic pain and anxiety are not included in the bill, which is said to be one of the strictest in the country.

A poll published last week by the Carolina Partnership for Reform, a conservative group, found that 82% of respondents supported the reforms. The group said it was “surprised” by the support, which includes 75% of Republicans, 87% of unaffiliated voters, 86% of Democrats, at least 78% of men and women, North Carolina whites and blacks, liberals, moderates and conservatives. The poll found that 77% of evangelical voters supported the reforms.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Senate last week unanimously passed a measure that will permanently legalize hemp in the state, defining it as having less than 0.3% delta-9 THC and the excluding it from the state controlled substance list. State lawmakers had temporarily legalized hemp in 2015 under a pilot program that expires at the end of June.

Republican Senator Brent Jackson said the bill “essentially just affirms hemp laws with federal models. ” The Farm Bill Federal law of 2018 did indeed legalize hemp nationwide, but left it up to the states to craft the rules and regulations for their program within the confines of the federal statute.

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