Push to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina makes progress

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The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a plan to legalize medical cannabis use for certain conditions.

The Wednesday action, though an extremely preliminary step in the process, signified the first time a North Carolina Senate committee took a vote involving a marijuana measure, according to Raleigh-based TV station WRAL.

Senate Bill 711, which also would establish an MMJ supply and distribution system, was amended to lower the number of distribution centers in North Carolina from 80 to 40, the TV station reported.

A House committee rejected a marijuana bill in 2015, WRAL reported, and since then, no committee in either chamber had heard such a measure until the Senate vote Wednesday.

No member of the committee voted against SB 711 in the voice vote.

The measure still faces two committee hearings before it could reach the full Senate for a vote. But “that could happen during the second week of July,” WRAL reported.

The measure then would then have to gain approval in the state House before going to the governor’s desk.

State Sen. Natasha Marcus, a Democrat, said the measure is “very restrictive” compared to other states that have legalized medical marijuana, the TV station reported.

According to the Associated Press, the MMJ qualifying conditions include:

  • Cancer.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Nausea related to hospice care.