What if legal marijuana could help you or someone you love? What if we could legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina? The NC Medical Marijuana Law, if passed, may do just that! The bi-partisan bill takes NC one step closer to legalizing some marijuana products for some qualifying patients.
The proposed bill is waiting for a vote, and now is the time to show your support. We thought you might want to learn a little more about this bill and what it means for the great state of North Carolina.
The NC Medical Marijuana Law is an important bill to hit NC legislators’ desks. The passing of this bill, also called the Compassionate Care Act, could help provide relief for thousands of North Carolinians. But it would also have implications on the CBD industry as well.
Today we’re taking a look at this bill and explaining what it means to you as a CBD consumer. And how the bill can help people get the legal marijuana they need.
- How Farm Bill legislation made bills like the Compassionate Care Act possible
- The NC Medical Marijuana Law, a.k.a. the Compassionate Care Act – what it is and what it proposes
- Possible implications of this law, if it passes in North Carolina
- Potential effects for CBD users
The 2018 Farm Bill
Before the NC Medical Marijuana Law was proposed, the 2018 Farm Bill went into effect. This federal legislature made significant changes for cannabis-infused products and CBD.
The 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized some hemp products. Before this legislation, anything derived from hemp was classified as a drug – the same as marijuana.
Now, products derived from hemp are considered different from marijuana products. But the increasing understanding of the benefits of cannabis, and the more tolerant attitude towards it, encouraged states to craft their own laws about how to govern the use of:
- Medical marijuana
- Legalized marijuana for recreational purposes
- “Altered” molecules like Delta 8 THC, which is “encouraged” to form during the CBD extraction process. (Some define this as being synthetic.)
- CBD-infused products that derive from hemp
The 2018 Farm Bill made CBD products more widely available for you to use in your home. Now, the push is for North Carolina to open the doors for legal marijuana as a medical care treatment.
NC Medical Marijuana Law (Compassionate Care Act)
The bill is called the Compassionate Care Act.
You can read it, in full at: SENATE BILL 711 PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE S711-PCS15315-BPf-15.
It was submitted on April 8, 2021, to the General Assembly of North Carolina. The bill is a bipartisan effort, backed by Republican Senators Michael Lee and Bill Rabon, and Democrat Paul Lowe.
The main focal points of the NC Medical Marijuana Law are:
- Protecting doctors and patients from criminal and civil penalties under NC’s existing laws.
- To allow the growth and sale of cannabis in North Carolina for medical purposes.
Four Important Findings of the Bill
Page one of the bill presents four important findings. These present a clear case for the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients.
This new language is a step further than the 2018 Farm Bill, for supported legalization for medical marijuana use in North Carolina.
This proposed bill does not pertain to the non-medical use of cannabis derivatives. It is, however, more cannabis-friendly language for the state. The NC Medical Marijuana Law is a good, strong first step for North Carolina, should it pass.
Cannabis-Infused Products Defined
Furthermore, the bill defines a cannabis-infused product. Here is how it is defined in the bill:
“A product infused with cannabis that is intended for use or consumption other than by inhalation, smoking, or vaping. The term includes an edible cannabis product, topical product, ointment, oil, patch, spray, suppository, or tincture.”
One cause for concern with this verbiage for a cannabis business is that the term “cannabis” does not specify what type of cannabis. This could pertain to marijuana, or hemp, or all derivatives from any variety of Cannabis sativa.
This distinction needs to be made because some CBD-infused products rely on legal loopholes. Delta 8 THC products are a good example. However, any hemp-friendly language that stays in this bill is a big win for CBD.
Legal marijuana is the harder door to open in North Carolina. But when that door opens, a variety of cannabis-related products could provide more well-rounded care for patients who need it.
While imperfect, this legislation still moves the line forward in support of cannabis products. This helps the entire cannabis business, and ultimately, cannabis and CBD users.
Chronic Conditions Defined by the Bill
The Compassionate Care Act defines which conditions medical use would be approved for:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn's disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- Parkinson's disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (with evidentiary proof of trauma further defined in the bill)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe or persistent nausea (non-pregnancy) in those in end-of-life or hospice care, bedridden, or homebound because of a condition
- Any other serious medical condition or its treatment added by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board
Moving forward, other conditions could be added. These would be evaluated and added by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. This gives some wiggle room for when future studies prove that cannabis is effective for other conditions.
What Happens If the Compassionate Care Act Passes?
The Compassionate Care Act would allow your doctor to write you a prescription for legal marijuana if you have one of the qualifying conditions. You’d be issued a medical marijuana card and be listed on a registry. This also pertains to your caregiver, if you are unable to travel out to a marijuana dispensary store.
The law would also allow legal marijuana growers in NC. They’d operate under a Medical Cannabis Supplier License. Anyone who works as an owner, director, or employee of these facilities would be submitted to a criminal history record check. The cannabis business itself would have to undergo inspections and be subjected to legal penalties for those that are not in compliance.
The law also sets some rules and standards for storage, packaging, and testing of legal marijuana products.
Where Is the Bill Now?
Senate Bill 711 Is currently pending vote in the Senate. It must also pass the Finance, Healthcare, and Rules and Operations Committees.
What Legal Marijuana Would Mean for North Carolinians
North Carolina has an opportunity here to bring relief to its constituents.
For many people who are suffering, this bill means the difference betweeen compassionate care and hopelessness. It may even allow more people to stay in the beautiful state they love, instead of moving to a more cannabis-friendly state to get the care they need.
North Carolinians in need would benefit from the relief of having legal marijuana available to them without penalty. This provides compassion, dignity, and another treatment available for when they need it.
Plus, the cannabis business would be a revenue boost for North Carolina, providing jobs and opportunity. NC’s current major employers are technology companies, school systems, and healthcare systems.
NC is also home to 18% of the world’s production of pork due to widespread hog farming in the eastern portion of the state. But this moneymaker’s been losing steam for the past couple of decades. Perhaps more environmentally friendly marijuana farming could help some of these economically challenged areas to bounce back. Or, at least offer some diversification for farmers in NC who need to expand their income.
Make no mistake, the NC Medical Marijuana Law is about compassionate care. But the effects go far beyond those who will actually use medical marijuana.
Consider how many people this bill will affect.
What You Can Do as a Consumer
If you support any of the following, then contact your lawmakers and voice your support:
- Legal marijuana for medical purposes
- Legal marijuana for recreation
- More support for CBD products and hemp derivatives
- More medical and scientific studies on cannabis and how it helps a variety of conditions
Contact supporters of the bill. Let them know you stand behind Senate Bill 711.
Encourage more bipartisan support for this bill, which may be needed for it to pass in NC. Use your social media to voice your support for cannabis-friendly legislation. Share your personal story of how cannabis products help your health.
Bill Rabon, Chairman of the Rules and Operations Committee
John Hardister, the House Majority Whip
Or show your support here: Show Your Support for SB 711.
If This Legal Marijuana Bill Fails to Pass
If this legal marijuana bill fails, we try again. And again. Until we change the narrative around cannabis products.
All of this helps open doors for cannabis-infused products of many types to be used for your health and wellness. It helps to soften the language, open the public’s mind, and make research and development a higher priority for the state. Above all, it provides dignified care for qualified patients who need medical marijuana.
Stay updated on CBD, cannabis, the NC Medical Marijuana Law, legal marijuana, and other important topics, right here at cbdMD.