NC legislature decides to make no decision on medical cannabis
Government moves incrementally. Anyone who has taken a high school civics class understands that there is a process that requires a lot of approval before a bill becomes law. While many states have taken incremental states toward the legalization of marijuana – whether it be decriminalization, medical use only, or full-out legalization of sales for adult recreational use – North Carolina may have topped the charts for taking the tiniest step in American history.
North Carolina legalized the prescription use of marijuana, subject to a number of contingencies. In fact, the federal government would have to first remove cannabis from the Schedule I substances in the Controlled Substances Act before North Carolina’s medical marijuana program can go into effect. The start date in the bill does not exist due to all the requirements that must be met,
The Federal Drug Administration would also have to approve cannabis for medical use before NC’s law can go into effect. Thirty-eight states currently have medical marijuana programs, presumably because the plant serves some kind of medical benefits for enough state legislatures to approve their programs without the federal government’s permission. Unfortunately for North Carolinians, their legislators took a cop-out to protect themselves in the upcoming elections.
Marijuana’s popularity is growing, and there’s no denying that voters in North Carolina are gearing up to at least approved a medical program. Republicans, unfortunately, have to appease their base and their more conservative voters who grew up during the government’s fear-mongering propaganda surrounding the plant.
On top of approval from the FDA and rescheduling of cannabis by Congress, NC’s law also requires that North Carolina Commission for Mental health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse sees no objection to excluding the new drug from Schedule VI – the state’s current scheduling.
If all three of these requirements are met, North Carolina will officially take the first step toward implementing a medical marijuana program that will serve to benefit patients across the state. Federal action is unlikely under Joe Biden’s administration, but not impossible. The government in Raleigh understands the politics surrounding the plant, and not only did they compromise, they decided to make no decision.