RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The legalization of medical marijuana passed a major hurdle Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina.
An NC Senate panel passed SB 711, also known as the “North Carolina Compassionate Care Act,” which would legalize marijuana use for people with debilitating and end-of-life medical conditions.
The bill has more committees to go through, but it now has a better chance of reaching the Governor’s desk and becoming law.
About a dozen people spoke before lawmakers at the hearing on Wednesday, from pharmacists to cancer survivors to war veterans. They were mostly in support of the legalization of medical marijuana. Many detailed how marijuana has positively changed their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Multiple said the plant helped them with depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts and physical pain/suffering.
Republican Senator Kathy Harrington said she wouldn’t have voted to pass the bill six months ago, but her husband recently had to go through cancer treatment changed her mind.
Several in support of it during public comment said the bill needs to be amended to allow more access to people, include more ailments, and help battle opioid abuse.
Two of the eleven people in public comment were against the bill. They said it would create public health risks, like substance abuse and developmental interference. One said it would open Pandora’s box to legalizing recreational marijuana.
The bill still can be tweaked and fine-tuned as it works through several more committees.
It has both Republican and Democrat sponsors.