by Travis C | Jun 6, 2022 | 420 News, Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Politics
A North Carolina medical cannabis bill was passed by the state Senate last week following its clearing of a key Senate committee just one day prior. The legislation passed the full chamber with a 35-10 vote.
Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bill Rabon (R) is hopeful that the bill will help those seeking relief toward the end of their life.
“This bill is going to, in my opinion, help a lot of people at the end of their life at a time that they need some compassion,” Rabon said on the floor ahead of the vote.
Rabon is a cancer survivor himself. He believes that medical cannabis can help people “at a time that what few days, or what little time they have left, should be as comfortable and as easy as they can be.”
“I think it is our duty as lawmakers to pass legislation that helps people who need our help,” Rabon said.
However the medical cannabis bill is not in the clear yet. It still must pass through one final vote on the third reading of the bill. If it passes again it will then move on to the House of Representatives.
The NC Compassionate Care Act in its current state would enact a highly restricted medical cannabis program. Those that qualify for the program must have a condition such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and PTSD to be eligible.
Patients would be permitted to possess up to one and half ounces of cannabis, but home growing would not be allowed. Edibles or “cannabis-infused” products would be allowed in various forms, and smoking and vaping would be permitted.
However the consumption method must be prescribed by a doctor for specific delivery and dosages. Patient eligibility would be reconsidered on an annual basis.
The bill would permit just 10 medical cannabis suppliers who would control the cultivation and sale of cannabis. Each operator would be permitted four dispensaries for 40 total across the state.
Under the current revision, a Compassionate Use Advisory Board would be established. This board would have the ability to add more qualifying conditions for the program that could make access easier for more patients in the future.
Additionally a Medical Cannabis Production Commission would be created to ensure that supply does not run out for patients. The Commission would also oversee licensing and generate revenue to regulate the medical cannabis program.
Lastly the bill will provide protections for patients. Employees and agents of the state would be required to treat possession of cannabis for qualified patients the same as any other prescribed controlled substance.
There are still additional amendments under consideration that may impact the third reading of the bill. Over 80% of North Carolina voters support medical cannabis, with 60% supporting full recreational legalization.
by Travis C | Feb 11, 2022 | Blog, Cannabis Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Medical Marijuana, Politics
A South Carolina medical marijuana bill pre-filed in late 2020 has finally been approved by the Senate, and will now go on to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The Compassionate Care Act was passed in the Senate on its third reading February 10. Initial passage was expected a day prior following a bipartisan vote to advance the bill, however Thursday’s voice vote means the legislation will be formally transitioned to the other body.
Passed through the Senate Medical Affairs Committee in March 2021, the bill was blocked by a lone senator who prevented it from reaching the chamber floor. Republican Sen. Tom Davis has been the driving force behind the Compassionate Care Act, and doubled his efforts following the blockage in 2021 to get it across the finish line.
The state’s Governor Henry McMaster, also a Republican, said earlier in the week that it is still too soon to comment on the proposal. “This is on that’s going to depend on a lot of things,” he told a local station. McMaster added that he would be waiting for the final version before deciding whether or not to sign off on it if the bill hits his desk.
As it stands, the current bill would allow patients with qualifying conditions to possess and purchase cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. Smokable products, as well as home cultivation of cannabis by patients or their caretakers, would be prohibited. Simply possessing the plant form of cannabis could be punished as a misdemeanor.
Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis include cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, ulcerative colitis, cachexia or wasting syndrome, autism, nausea in homebound or end-of-life patients, muscle spasms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill would also allow access for patients with “any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition for which an opioid is currently or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care.” An example of this would be severe or persistent pain.
If the South Carolina medical marijuana bill were to pass and be signed into law, purchases of medical marijuana would be subject to the state’s 6% sales tax. Local jurisdictions would also be able to levy an additional tax. The state also has plans to handle dispensaries differently as it stands currently.
Rather than traditional dispensaries that are found in other states, the South Carolina medical marijuana bill calls them “pharmacies” instead. This is because the sites would be required to have a pharmacist on the premises at all times, and the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy would oversee business regulations.
Those with felony drug convictions would be barred from participating in the industry for 10 years under the Compassionate Care Act. In an effort to prevent a multi-state operator takeover, the state would also give priority to in-state businesses when the time for licensing comes.
The initial rollout would approve 15 cannabis cultivators and 30 processing facilities. A cannabis pharmacy will be licensed for every 20 pharmacies in the state, and five testing labs and 4 transport licenses will be given out.
75% of tax revenue collected from South Carolina medical marijuana sales would go into the state’s general fund. An additional 10% would go to drug abuse treatment services, 5% to state law enforcement and the rest will be diverted to cannabis research and education.
by The Real Dirt | Aug 16, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization, Medical Marijuana
A Dothan area oncologist was elected as the chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The members of the newly formed Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission on Thursday met in a formal session for the first time for an organizational meeting in Alabama’s historic 1859 Capitol Building.
“You truly have a lot of work cut out for you,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey told the commission members. “It will be up to you, those who have been appointed by many elected leaders around the state, to establish a criteria for medical cannabis production in Alabama.”
“I can’t urge you strongly enough to keep transparency and efficacy foremost in your mind,” Ivey told the members of the new commission. “The task before you is providing legal use for medical cannabis,” Ivey said. “We simply have to get this right.”
The Alabama Legislature shocked many observers, on both sides of the marijuana debate; when legislators elected to jettison the hotly debated gambling bill and pass medical marijuana legalization in the 2021 legislative session instead. Sen. Tim Melson, R-Florence, had carried the legislation three years in a row, with it finally passing after an 11-hour debate on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives in May.
The members of the commission voted to make Dr. Steven Stokes the chairman of the commission. Rex Vaughn was voted in as co-chair of the Commission. Stokes then s appointed a subcommittee tasked with searching for an executive director of the commission.
“We have a long way to go and a short time to get there,” Stokes told the commission, quoting from the southern classic: ‘Smokey and the Bandit. The Commission must have a program in place to certify physicians to recommend medical marijuana in place by Jan 1, 2022. Stokes assigned a subcommittee to work on this task.
“We are going to have to meet at least once a month,” Stokes said. Meetings will be “the second Thursday of each month at least through the first of the year until we get organized and up and going.”
“Patient wants this,” Stokes said. “They campaigned for this; but there are also a lot of people who have a problem with this. They are concerned that this would be a gateway for more drug abuse.”“For a cancer patient there is a great benefit,” Stokes, an oncologist from Dothan, said. “But at least half of the homeless have an addiction problem. We don’t want to increase substance addictions.”
by The Real Dirt | Aug 12, 2021 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization, Medical Marijuana, Politics
Wyoming’s medical cannabis ballot initiative cleared its first major hurdle on Wednesday.
The Wyoming Secretary of State certified the required sponsor signatures to begin the process. Only 100 were needed, supporters of medical cannabis in Wyoming provided 250.
The Libertarian Party, which is backing the initiative, said it now allows supporters to start gathering 41,776 signatures from people across Wyoming. If that is successful, it would qualify to go before voters on the 2022 ballot. The initiative would legalize medical cannabis and decriminalize marijuana for personal use.
by The Real Dirt | Feb 22, 2021 | 420 News, Blog, Business, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Legalization, Medical Marijuana
From nearly 70 applicants, six companies will be chosen to begin manufacturing medical marijuana oil for Georgia patients.
The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission announced this month it will review the proposals and then award licenses to six companies, possibly in late spring or early summer.
The winning companies will then have one year to begin operations, according to state law, providing medicine for 14,000 registered patients for conditions including seizures, terminal cancers and Parkinson’s disease. Though they’re allowed to consume the medicine, there’s no legal way to buy it until the companies come online.
“The goal is to ensure that patients have access to the highest-quality medicine that we can arrive at in our state with these production facilities,” said Andrew Turnage, the commission’s executive director. “I’m very impressed with the quality and caliber of applicants.”
Licenses will be awarded based on criteria set in a state law creating the cannabis oil program in 2019. Companies submitted plans for production, business operations, facilities and seed-to-sale tracking, Turnage said.
Under the law, six companies will be licensed to cultivate medical marijuana, which can have no more than 5% THC, the compound that gives marijuana users a high. They’ll be allowed to grow the drug on a total of 400,000 square feet of indoor growing space statewide.
“The only thing we should be thinking about is how we can get the safest oil and the best medicine to Georgia patients,” said state Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican from Douglasville who sponsored legislation starting the program. “The licensees should be the six companies who are capable of creating a lab-tested, trusted, safe oil, and have a tested and proven product in other states.”
Lawmakers limited the number of licenses as part of a compromise between House and Senate leaders who had struggled to strike a balance between providing access to legitimate patients while preventing illegal marijuana distribution.