Locals and a NC senator discuss potential medical marijuana bill on 420

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tuesday is April 20, or 420, a day known to marijuana advocates as an occasion to celebrate the plant.

North Carolina senators recently introduced marijuana legislation to allow for medical use. If the bill makes it out of committee and is passed, it could mean that North Carolina would become the 37th state to legalize medical weed to combat chronic pain.

According to Senator Paul Lowe, Jr., the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow medical providers to prescribe marijuana to patients with illnesses like cancer and glaucoma, and as a replacement for addictive opioids in some instances of reoccurring pain.

Lowe explained, “A lot of folks in the medical field are telling us that marijuana has certain properties that can be used to deal with pain and don’t have the addiction problems.”

North Carolina is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with more than 12,000 North Carolinians dying from opioid related overdoses between 1999 and 2016. Wilmington ranked number one for opioid abuse in one 2016 national study.

According to one Your CBD Store owner, it’s why more people are interested in marijuana as a pain relieving alternative.

“You know, for going through their chemotherapy. Now unfortunately, all of our customers, sometimes they’ve, the progression is too severe where our products aren’t strong enough.”

According to the North Carolina Farm Bill, Hemp and CBD products must contain no more than .3 percent THC. But for some, like student Jennifer Shirley and her parents, CBD can only do so much to ease pain when it’s chronic and intense.

Shirley says her father recently went through open heart surgery, and her mother passed away four years ago without the relief she needed.

“To know that medicinal marijuana could have helped her, and it could have maybe saved her, or helped her get through what she was going through,” said Shirley, “and then this, seeing my dad like this as well, and to know that this is available, but we don’t have the resources for it yet, it’s absolutely terrifying.”

Though this is not a recreational marijuana use bill, recreational use is legal in 17 states.

WWAY did reach out for several days to Senator Michael Lee and Senator Bill Rabon, both senators who represent the Cape Fear and also sponsor this bill. They have not responded.

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