NC Republican says she'll sponsor bill to legalize strain of medical marijuana

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - For weeks we've been trying to talk with a North Carolina Republican with an opinion on a specific type of medical marijuana illegal in the Carolinas, showing promise with pediatric epilepsy in Colorado where it's legal.  It's called "Charlotte's Web."

It's high in CBD, the stuff in marijuana that can be therapeutic, and low in THC, the stuff that gets you high.

Whether for or against -- we wanted to talk with any Republican willing to tell us what they thought.  Various Democrats had opinions; we hadn't found a Republican willing to take a public stance.

Until now.

Monday afternoon, Anchor Molly Grantham went to Raleigh to talk with Representative Pat McElraft, who represents Carteret and Jones Counties.

She said she's sponsoring a bill she will present to the General Assembly in May.  She wants to make it very specific to legalize CBD oils -- which is what "Charlotte's Web" is -- for pediatric use.

"It's the only hope those kids have right now," said McElraft.  "Though it doesn't work for all of them, it might work for some.  And it's much better than some of these other drugs they have these children on which are so debilitating to their little bodies.  Why shouldn't we try something?"

Representative McElraft, who has been in office since 2007, says she is still developing the bill.

"I want to legalize CBD oils in North Carolina under strict conditions," she said.  "For pediatric use and through a pilot program with Duke and UNC and some of the university medical systems.  I want neurologists to also be involved."

McElraft said she learned about CBD oils when a single mom in her district approached her.  That mom's 5-year-old daughter has tried all other medicines.  Nothing worked.

"To have North Carolina moms travel to Colorado and split up their families, that's not what we need," she said.  "We need to take care of the kids here."

"Charlotte's Web", the one strain we've done extensive stories on here at WBTV, is not FDA-approved.

"Waiting for approval will take too long," said McElraft.  "Some of our families in our state don't have that much time.  We need to pass this now."

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