A bill to legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina has only a small chance of passing after House Republicans voted secretly in a closed-door meeting Wednesday not to advance it. The measure already passed the North Carolina Senate, reports Marijuana Business Daily.
The state Senate overwhelmingly passed a restrictive, limited-license medical marijuana bill earlier this month by a vote of 35-10 on the second reading and 36-7 on the third reading.
But the North Carolina House was a higher hurdle. The move isn’t a shock. House Republicans have no interest in dealing with Cannabis legislation.
Bill Resuscitation Possible; Not Likely
Sources were unwilling to speak on the record because caucus — where all of the members of a party discuss and debate issues — is confidential.
Budget negotiations are still ongoing between the two chambers. That makes it theoretically possible the MMJ measure could be brought back to life, reports Axios.
The North Carolina Legislature adjourns July 8, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
North Carolina Compassionate Act
Under the Senate-passed measure, the North Carolina Compassionate Act, regulators would issue 10 vertically integrated medical marijuana licenses. Each operator could open up to four dispensaries, with at least one of those in a county designated as economically disadvantaged.
If signed into law, the bill would allow medicinal use of Cannabis for a narrow list of conditions. Qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, and multiple sclerosis. The measure doesn’t decriminalize adult-use weed.
The Act had advanced through four Senate committees before finally reaching the floor. Its momentum seemed to bode well for reform. But GOP members reportedly conferenced “internally,” reports Marijuana Moment. They chose not to give the bill a committee hearing in the House as the deadline for the legislative session quickly approaches.
“We’re disappointed that the Republican caucus did not come to an agreement to move medical cannabis legislation forward,” said Kevin Caldwell, Southeast legislative manager for Marijuana Policy Project.
“It’s certainly going to hold back patient access to safe, lab-tested medicine for at least six more months—if not longer,” Caldwell said. “And we just hope that all parties can agree on legislation that meets the needs of the patients, as well as all the concerns of the stakeholders.”
North Carolina GOP House Speaker Tim Moore was among those key lawmakers who dismissed the idea of enacting the legislation this year. Moore claimed recently that “there are a lot of concerns with this bill.”
GOP House Speaker Speaks With Forked Tongue
Those issues Moore disingenuously mentioned could have been raised and potentially addressed in the chamber. But that would require the measure actually be debated in the House. Now, of course, it appears that won’t happen.
“I think it’s something that’s going to really require further study,” Moore said earlier this month. “The Senate brought this bill quickly to the floor. This is one of the more controversial subjects in our in our state and in our nation.”
Moore’s comment about the speed of the Senate’s approach to this legislation is dishonest. The bill, sponsored by top Senate Republican Bill Rabon, received ample committee consideration all the way back to July 2021.