North Carolina lawmakers hope to put a comprehensive medical marijuana law on the books in the 2017 legislative session.
A recent report from The News & Observer indicates that Representative Kelly Alexander, a Democrat, has introduced a piece of legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. The proposal, aptly titled the “North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act,” would allow patients suffering from a variety of conditions, including cancer, severe pain and Crohn’s disease, to have access to cannabis medicine with a doctor’s recommendation.
Unlike states such as California, which is known for having liberal laws pertaining to how medical marijuana is recommended, North Carolina’s program would force patients to have a “bona fide” relationship with a state-licensed physician before participating.
Similar measures have been introduced in the past, but failed to gain any traction due to a lack of interest from the Republican Party. However, Democratic forces say they will continue to introduce legislation until the issue is given proper consideration.
After all, there is currently more public support for marijuana legalization in the United States than ever before. A recent Quinnipiac University Poll shows that 93 percent of the American population believes that marijuana should be made legal for medicinal purposes.
“Medical marijuana is something that the public has changed its mind on, even in North Carolina,” Representative Rodney Moore, one of the bill’s supporters, told the Observer. “There very may well be some support for this bill on the Republican side.”
However, it remains to be seen whether the Medical Cannabis Act will be taken seriously.
In 2015, some lawmakers argued that legalizing medical marijuana would be a “slippery slope” because “it could open the door to legalizing marijuana for recreational use, which we do not want in this state.”Other lawmakers suggested marijuana advocates had assaulted them.
Ultimately, the issue was rejected. Hopefully, the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act won’t suffer the same fate.