The Status of Cannabis Legalization in NC
In recent North Carolina cannabis news, Senate Bill 705 was heard by state legislators. The bill reclassifies the possession of less than 1.5 ounces of cannabis or hashish as an infraction instead of a misdemeanor, in addition to facilitating a process for the expungement of past convictions.
The Fayetteville Observer reported in September 2020 that the Old North State’s views on medical cannabis are just that–old. While up to 33 states out of 52 in the U.S. legalize medical cannabis, the southeastern government refuses to budge, even barring a ballot question for citizens to answer regarding the matter. Meanwhile, up to 80% of North Carolina residents agree medical cannabis would benefit the state budget.
“In the month of April alone, North Carolina collected $1.2 billion less in taxes than it had predicted,” reports the local Fayetteville news source. At this point, the state is already reducing its revenue projections for next fiscal year by $2.5 billion.”
The only relief North Carolina officials have given to citizens regarding medical cannabis is passing the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, which permits adolescence only to seek hemp extract as an alternative treatment for the intractable seizure disorder.
The state makes it rigorously clear about who’s eligible for the statewide program. The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services reports “a person who has been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy for which other treatment options have not been effective,” that can be certified by a North Carolina neurologist. There is no age limit for patients.
As far as a caregiver is concerned, North Carolina deems any patient assistant to be at least 18-years-old and a resident of the state, proving so with a current state license or identification card. According to the state department, the caregiver and patient are permitted to possess hemp extract of less than nine-tenths, 0.9%, THC by weight, and at least five percent CBD by weight,” with absolutely no additional psychoactive agents.
While the future of medical cannabis in North Carolina hangs in the balance, one can be grateful that the state has acknowledged the medical benefits of the flower that has proved to help heal severe seizure disorders, especially in children–the ones who need the most help.
Veriheal will continue to update readers on where North Carolina stands regarding medical cannabis and be ready to help them register with statewide physicians when the Old North State decides to accept new and progressive healing methods.
The limited CBD-only use for intractable seizure disorders including epilepsy is the only way a patient can legally consume or possess any form approved by a certified neurologist and physician.
How to qualify and register as a patient?
The DHHS has developed an internet registry. Only individuals diagnosed with intractable epilepsy are eligible to participate in the program and their caregivers. Diagnosed patients must be cared for by a state-licensed neurologist connected with any state-accredited hospital. In addition, patients qualifying for hemp extract must have reacted with little or no success to at least three (3) or more previous therapy alternatives. Once a doctor recommends hemp extract, patients will be added to the registry automatically. To acquire the extract, patients must designate a caregiver. No patient registration card is needed. For patients who can engage in the program, there is no minimum age.
Becoming a Caregiver in NC Under HB 1220
The caregiver is required to finish the application for Caregiver Registration and return to DHHS. The Application for Caregiver Registration involves data identifying the caregiver, the patient, and the neurologist recommendation.
A licensed caregiver must be available to all licensed patients. The caregivers of patients must be at least 18 years of age and be a permanent North Carolina resident. Registered caregivers can only be a parent, legal guardian, or guardian of an intractable individual with epilepsy. Upon submission of all materials and processing of the application, caregivers will obtain a letter from the DHHS authorizing their permission. When in possession of hemp extract in North Carolina, caregivers must bring this letter with them.
HB 1220 only allows patients to possess and ingest hemp extract. Legally, the hemp sample must be made up by the weight of less than nine-tenths of one percent (0.9%) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and at least five percent (5%) of cannabidiol (CBD).