NC Senate passes medical marijuana bill


On Wednesday, 1 March, the North Carolina senate passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina could soon be part of the 37 states and three territories that have legalized medical marijuana. The state senate voted twice on Wednesday, 1 March, for legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical use in the state for certain medical conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This bill legalized medical marijuana, not recreational marijuana. The difference is how they are legally categorized. In order to purchase medical marijuana through the state’s medical program, a person needs to be approved and have their healthcare provider authorize the use of the marijuana. A law that legalizes recreational marijuana treats it the same as alcohol, meaning adults can purchase marijuana without a medical prescription. 

The passing of this law would improve lives for people all over the state. Medical studies have shown the benefits of cannabis for medical use. A 2012 study found that people with chronic medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, use medical marijuana to ease chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity. It has also been found to help people with anxiety and other disorders.

While the research being done with medical marijuana highlights its benefits, many people do not view it as a viable treatment option. Some in the senate voice their concerns, stating that there is insignificant scientific evidence to support medical use and benefits of marijuana.  

A poll conducted by Elon University found that 73% of North Carolinians want marijuana legalized. This law, however, does not legalize recreational marijuana. Currently in North Carolina, possession of marijuana is a class 3 misdemeanor and a maximum fine of $200. 

Legalizing medical marijuana is a step in the right direction for providing access to the drug. Legalizing it could significantly reduce the number of marijuana related arrests and allow for people to have safer access to it.