A second North Carolina Senate committee approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana on Wednesday—one day after it cleared an initial panel and shortly after a top House lawmaker said his chamber is positioned to enact the reform this session despite blocking similar legislation last year.
The Senate Finance Committee advanced the proposal from Sen. Bill Rabon (R) in a voice vote. It has already received approval in the Judiciary Committee and will next head to the Rules Committee, which Rabon chairs, before potentially going to the floor.
The measure would allow patients with qualifying conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and multiple sclerosis to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
“The intent of this bill is to make only changes to existing state law that are necessary to protect patients and their doctors from criminal and civil penalties, and would not intend to change current civil and criminal laws governing the use of non-medical marijuana,” Rabon said before the latest committee vote. “That’s it.”
The panel also adopted an amendment making technical changes to fix outdated cross-references in the bill.
Advocates are confident that the legislation will make it through the Senate, as the prior version
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