North Carolina State House Speaker, Tim Moore, announced that a medical cannabis legalization bill which would have benefitted many, such as veterans, is unlikely to pass in 2023.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, efforts have been underway for quite some time to legalize medical cannabis. By legalizing this medicinal plant, it would allow for individuals suffering from cancer or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to gain access as a treatment option. However, State House Speaker, Tim Moore, discussed the bill and mentioned that it would likely be on hold until the earliest, next year because the bill currently does not have enough support in the chamber from Republicans (1).
Back in March 2023, the bill passed the Senate but unfortunately, hasn’t had much luck in the House (2). There was a similar bill last year as well that passed the Senate but didn’t survive the House.
The comments from Moore, didn’t go over well with veterans who are one of the top groups suffering from PTSD. US Army Veteran David Hamill uses cannabis to alleviate anxiety and stress. “The ability to get up and go and do and not be in pain,” said Hamill (1). “Not have, you know, the depression and anxiety being controlled and yet [be able to] function.” Hamill, like many veterans, are very agitated and disgruntled that the medical cannabis legalization bill won’t see the light of day this year and is calling for lawmakers to act.
The bill is being sponsored by Republican Senator Bill Rabon (1), who serves New Hanover, Columbus, and Brunswick counties, discussed with a House committee in May 2023 (3) that cannabis was a helpful tool during his cancer treatment. “No science behind it, but I can tell you. I know,” said Rabon (1,3). “I know that there’s tens of thousands of people in the state that could benefit just as I did.” Aside from legalizing medical cannabis, the bill would give doctors the ability to prescribe cannabis as a treatment option for PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and many other health ailments.
Hamill feels that the current law in North Carolina does not help veterans enough. “The medications that I was on, if I took the right medication or the right combination, I couldn’t work the next day,” he said (1). “So, I had to find ways to either suffer and get through it or find a way to relieve it that was some other way.” Hamill stated that the “other way” was cannabis. “The cannabidiol (CBD) and the other little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products, they might make a small dent,” said Hamill (1). “But the first time I ever tried the illegal form of cannabis through another friend of mine, it was almost life-changing.”
On House Bill 75 (4), Rabon added an amendment which was passed by the House unanimously earlier in 2023. This amendment mentioned that the bill cannot be enacted unless medical cannabis is also legalized (1).