The bill lays out the development of a medical cannabis supply system and aims to create a program administered by the UNC system called the North Carolina Cannabis Research Program. The program would conduct studies to determine the safety and efficacy of cannabis as medical treatment and then develop guidelines for the appropriate physician administration and patient use of medical cannabis.
Justin Strekal, the political director of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, said the bill is comprehensive and includes a long list of ailments that physicians could prescribe marijuana to treat.
“Some other states have gone a much more conservative approach in terms of what they will consider marijuana to be a treatment for,” he said.
Strekal said there are states that only legalize cannabidiol, or CBD — oil derived from a strain of marijuana without psychoactive effects.
“The CBD-only is really great at treating the kids with refractory epilepsy, but as far as the much more holistic approach that can be used to treat a whole host of ailments, it’s important to have access to the whole plant,” he said. “So, as far as medical marijuana bills go, we’re very happy with what’s being introduced in North Carolina.”
But the federal administration and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been increasingly critical of states legalizing marijuana in recent months.
“I, as you know, am dubious about marijuana,” he said in February. “States can pass whatever laws they choose, but I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold on every corner grocery store.”