RALEIGH, NC. - The North Carolina General Assembly has introduced the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act as a part of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes. The act, also known as Article 5H, aims to protect patients and their doctors from criminal and civil penalties associated with using cannabis for medical purposes.
Additionally, the act recognizes the efficacy of cannabis and cannabinoid compounds in alleviating symptoms associated with debilitating medical conditions and considers the majority of states that have removed penalties for medical use, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis.
The act defines various terms related to cannabis and medical use, including "adequate supply," "bona fide physician-patient relationship," "cannabis," "cannabis-infused product," and "debilitating medical condition." The act also establishes the Compassionate Use Advisory Board and the Medical Cannabis Production Commission to oversee the regulation and implementation of the act.
Under the act, a debilitating medical condition is defined as a diagnosis of one or more of the following illnesses for which a physician provides a written certification: cancer, epilepsy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, sickle cell anemia, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis, and others.
The act outlines the steps necessary to become a qualified patient, including obtaining a written certification from a physician and registering with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The act also establishes requirements for cannabis cultivation facilities and dispensaries, including background checks for all employees and regulations for the labeling and testing cannabis products.
The North Carolina Compassionate Care Act prioritizes public health and safety protection. It seeks to create a system for the cultivation, processing, and selling of medical cannabis that can quickly respond to changes in the rapidly-evolving cannabis industry.
The act is proposed pursuant to the state's police power to enact legislation for the protection of the health of its citizens, as reserved in the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
In short, the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act provides a framework for the safe and regulated use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. The act balances the need to protect public health and safety with the needs of patients seeking access to medical cannabis to alleviate their symptoms.
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