NC Senators debate legalizing medical marijuana

North Carolina News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WJZY) — North Carolina Senators held a hearing on Senate Bill 711, the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize medical marijuana.

“I’m a cancer survivor. I know how rough it is to go through chemo,” said Senator Bill Rabon, the primary sponsor of SB 711, “It is just what it says it is. It is a compassionate care act. I think there’s nothing less compassionate on this Earth than to watch a person you love suffer when there’s something that can ameliorate at least that suffering.”

This bill would only legalize medical marijuana for people with serious, debilitating health conditions. Some of those conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. A physician must provide written certification for people seeking access.

“This isn’t the kind of bill where someone says, you know, their ankle hurts, or they felt depressed and need, you know, a fake card,” Senator Wiley Nickel said.

Senator Wiley Nickel, a sponsor of the bill, said SB 711 is garnering bipartisan support because its main goal is helping people who are suffering.

“For me, this is a personal issue. My father died of cancer. And he used marijuana illegally during the final weeks of his life, and this bill would have helped him,” Nickel said.

Although Nickel is optimistic SB 711 will pass, there were a plethora of questions about the bill in Wednesday’s Senate hearing.

“Is there any estimation in the State of North Carolina for the number of citizens that we’re talking about that would qualify under the restrictions that are set forth in this bill?” one of the Senators asked Rabon.

Rabon said although they don’t know how many people will qualify for medical marijuana, the qualifications to be eligible will be strictly enforced. Rabon said if passed, SB 711 will ease the suffering of many North Carolinians.

The bill is not expected to be voted on this week but will continue through committee hearings.

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