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North Carolina Senate Passes Medical Cannabis Legalization Bill

North Carolina’s Senate has approved legislation aiming to legalize medical cannabis, putting the state a step closer to becoming the 39th to do so.

On Thursday, the Senate voted by 33-9 to approve legislation that would enable patients with a ‘debilitating medical condition’ to access medical cannabis.

It came just a day after the last-minute provision was added to a bill on Wednesday, aiming to further regulate hemp products with a THC content of less than 0.3%.

The amendment was made in order to ‘get out in front’ of the upcoming federal reclassification of cannabis to a Schedule I substance, according to Republican Senator Danny Britt.

Next, the bill will need to be approved a second time, before heading to the state House for a final vote.

In July 2023, the House blocked a similar move to legalize medical cannabis, and it is so far unclear whether the bill is likely to suffer a similar fate this time around.

Under the proposals, patients with a doctor’s recommendation could use cannabis to treat severe health conditions like cancer or epilepsy. The bill also introduces regulations for hemp products, including minimum age requirements for purchasing and licensing rules for businesses involved in manufacturing and sales.

Patients could smoke or vape cannabis with a doctor’s recommendation specifying dosage and delivery method, requiring annual reevaluation to continue usage.

The bill allows for the licensing of up to 10 medical cannabis suppliers, overseen by a newly established Medical Cannabis Production Commission. Rabon pointed out that obtaining medical cannabis will be more stringent than acquiring hemp products under this legislation.

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