“This bill is narrowly tailored to offer medical marijuana to those with legitimate medical needs,” Nickel said.
As a primary reason for legalization, the bill says “modern medical research has found that cannabis and cannabinoid compounds are effective at alleviating pain, nausea and other symptoms associated with several debilitating medical conditions.”
Rabon, a cancer survivor, has said SB711 would not serve as a gateway to recreation marijuana use.
“Recreational marijuana use is not something we want in our state,” Lee said, but added that the prohibition should not keep North Carolina from doing the right thing for people with chronic and debilitating conditions.
Lowe said bill sponsors reviewed legislation in piecing together SB711.
“We realized that, for some states, it has worked out well, while for others it was just a recreational product,” Lowe said. “That’s not the goal with this particular bill on our state.”
Some advocates for permitting medical marijuana still criticize SB711 for being too restrictive on who can use it, and for not putting enough emphasis on the mental health aspect of debilitating health conditions.
Others spoke against the amendment that reduces the number of medical cannabis centers in North Carolina from eight to four, two of which would be located in one of the state’s 20 Tier 1 counties — likely Mecklenburg and in the Triangle.