A bill aimed at legalizing medical marijuana in North Carolina is unlikely to move forward during this legislative session, according to top Republican House lawmakers. House Speaker Tim Moore stated that the bill lacks sufficient support from the majority of the Republican caucus, a requirement to bring it to the floor for consideration. Although Moore personally favors the bill, he believes it would require a significant shift in positions from Republican members to gain the majority needed for advancement.
House Majority Leader John Bell also expressed doubts about the bill’s progress this session due to inadequate support among Republicans. Bell acknowledged the passionate debate surrounding the policy change but indicated that discussions would continue, with the bill likely to be revisited during next year’s legislative session.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Bill Rabon, a Republican, seeks to allow patients with qualifying conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries. The bill also establishes regulatory bodies and research programs related to medical marijuana.
Despite initial optimism from House Speaker Moore, the bill’s fate appears uncertain this session. Senator Julie Mayfield, a Democrat and one of the bill’s sponsors, criticized the lack of a vote and called for the state to embrace medical cannabis legalization, citing the positive impact it has had on many people.
North Carolina’s medical marijuana bill faced challenges even after passing the Senate in March. Senator Rabon employed new tactics, attaching amendments to other bills to pressure the opposite chamber to consider the reforms. However, these efforts have not garnered the necessary support.
While prospects for the bill this session appear dim, advocates for medical marijuana legalization in North Carolina remain hopeful for future progress, emphasizing the need to allow patients in the state to access cannabis as a legitimate medical treatment option.