Medical marijuana law proposed for North Carolina this year

A medical marijuana bill has been proposed in North Carolina, but it is unclear if it is likely to succeed.

North Carolina could become the latest state to legalize access to medical marijuana if a proposed piece of legislation becomes law this year. As Fox 46 News reports, a bill has been introduced in the state legislature that would permit access to marijuana for the treatment of certain health conditions. While medical marijuana has broad support from North Carolinians themselves, some lawmakers remain opposed to legalization largely over concerns that a medical marijuana law could eventually lead to legal recreational marijuana.

Marijuana laws in North Carolina

Marijuana remains prohibited in North Carolina under both state and federal law. Currently, the state only permits the use of cannabis oil. That oil, which is derived from hemp, is related to marijuana but contains much lower amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical compound in marijuana that gives users a "high." The oil is used to treat a variety of health problems, most notably seizures in children with epilepsy.

The state does not, however, permit access to medical marijuana. As WCNC News reports, 30 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, while eight states plus D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana. A proposed law is currently being considered by North Carolina lawmakers that would set up a legal framework for medical marijuana. Supporters of the bill point out that medical marijuana could be an effective treatment for depression, seizures, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Public support for medical marijuana is high

Unfortunately, it appears as though the medical marijuana bill has a very limited chance of becoming law. Similar versions of the bill have been put forward every year for close to a decade and they have failed every time. While many lawmakers say they support the idea of medical marijuana in principle, they have concerns about its effect on DUI rates and whether the bill would be a first step towards legalizing recreational marijuana.

Despite the bill's uncertain future, North Carolinians themselves are strongly behind legalizing medical marijuana. A recent 2017 Elon Poll found that 80 percent of people in the state back legalized medical marijuana. Meanwhile, nearly one out of every two North Carolinians back legalizing recreational marijuana.

Criminal defense help

North Carolina's drug laws remain very strict, despite other states moving quickly to legalize either medical or recreational forms of marijuana. Anybody who has been charged with a drug crime in North Carolina needs to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can assist clients with the steps to take when dealing with such charges, including how to fight to uphold one's rights and freedoms.