RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A bill that would make lawful smoking or consuming cannabis for medical use with tight controls will reach the Senate floor next week after clearing another committee on Thursday.
The Senate Rules Committee voted favorably for the measure, following similar outcomes within the judiciary and finance panels earlier in the week. The rules committee is led by Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County, who has championed the medical marijuana issue for several years.
The measure, largely similar to a bill that passed the Senate comfortably last year, permits people with one of over a dozen debilitating medical conditions or those with terminal illness or who are in hospice, to use cannabis with a doctor’s express permission.
Ten entities could receive licenses issued by a new commission to grow and process cannabis and sell it at several retail outlets each licensee runs. The state gets payments equal to 10% of monthly revenues.
Social conservatives remain ardently opposed to the bill, saying there’s little evidence to date that cannabis is an effective medical treatment. Bill supporters often focus on how it relieves symptoms.
The future of medical marijuana in North Carolina likely rests this year in the House, which didn’t take up last year’s Senate measure.