North Carolina House Now Welcoming Debates About Medical Marijuana

Brian Goodman /
Brian Goodman /

Over 12 weeks have passed since the North Carolina Senate passed the bill paving the way for medical marijuana in the state. Now the House is ready to hear arguments about the “Compassionate Care Act” as it was the first bill filed in the NC Senate this session. They are taking this bill seriously too.

To hear these arguments correctly, May 30th has been set aside for the issue. Starting at 10 am, they will hear nothing but arguments for and against this bill the entire day. Given all the controversy the bill has generated among the refer madness population, they may need every minute of the time they can get.

The way the bill is presently written cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other ailments would be eligible to have a doctor’s recommendation for its use. It would not allow for recreational use or allow for chronic pain as a qualifying condition. With the low number of qualifying conditions, they will limit the number of permits issued, and the regulations would be stiff.

Just in 2022 the bill passed the Senate but died in the House. Given its lack of committees, votes, or even calendar placement during that session, many fear it could face a similar fate this time out. By issuing a calendar date to discuss the issue, the bill has already gotten further than it did last year.

House Speaker Tim Moore has seen a change in the way residents of the Tarheel State look at medical marijuana and is hopeful. “Last year when we didn’t take it up, it was overwhelmingly opposed by most of the caucus,” However, with so many new members elected to the House he has seen “attitudes have changed, and I think some folks have had an opportunity, once they were back home and met with folks, to see that there’s some potentially legitimate uses for this.”

Given the high number of military veterans who call North Carolina home, the need for this program for post-traumatic stress disorder is incredibly high. Many veterans around the country have been desperate for any sort of relief from the memories and the sometimes-crippling anxiety it can bring. For these servicemembers, getting relief from a plant that many have been told is the cause of evil has been difficult.

To see this bill be ultimately successful, Moore cautioned against the idea of it being the wild west for pot. Instead, he expects “reasonable controls” would need to be set. While he acknowledges the state would need to have a variety of companies to be successful, he realizes the laws can’t be “just throwing the door wide open where you have these things literally on every street corner.”

In other conservative states like Florida, the medical marijuana program has been rather successful. While patients are largely happy to pay higher prices for quality and safe medication, the black market is still the biggest tool for those against the program. However recent studies have shown that people are not only willing to pay more for medical marijuana, they are also willing to travel further to get exactly what they want.

The people of North Carolina have been looking for new crops to grow on their fertile lands. As tobacco fails to be the powerhouse and ultimate cash crop it once was, the state would be foolish to ignore the potential for profits. Mind you, companies like RJ Reynolds and Phillip Morris have already been lobbying to start looking at the mass production of cannabis and cannabis-derived goods.

As amazing as this bill could be for medical patients in North Carolina, they need to be careful of how they word things. The tobacco companies and their drive to make everything addictive instead of just allowing people to enjoy unspoiled nature have already made a mockery of the tobacco industry.