New hemp oil bill passes NC Senate with amendments; back to House

Newly amended bill could help people using CBD oils
Published: Jul. 2, 2015 at 2:05 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2015 at 2:05 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - North Carolina's new CBD oil/hemp oil bill unanimously passed the Senate with amendments. It'll now return to the House for another vote.

"CBD oils" stands for cannabis oil. This is a medicine made from the marijuana plant. The oil is unique in that it's genetically-engineered to have most of the THC removed, so matter how much of the medicine you take, you can't get high.

When HB 766 came into the Senate Wednesday afternoon, it said any board-certified neurologist could prescribe CBD oils (hemp oils) to any aged patient with intractable epilepsy, and that each patient would have to get on a registry run by the Department of Health and Human Services. 
That patient would get a card saying they were a part of the registry.

The Senate pointed out the registry would cost money and didn't seem necessary. They streamlined the bill - with no registry. Instead, it will be a database.

The Senate amended the bill to read that if your board-certified neurologist prescribes you CBD oils in North Carolina, they'll give you a letter saying they recommend the medicine and your name and address will go into a computer.

So, if a law enforcement official pulls you over and wants to charge you for having this strain of medical marijuana, you can show them the letter from your doctor. There are no cards to carry and no money spent on a registry that goes nowhere.

There was a positive feeling inside the Senate from families who want this legalized.

"Today's discussion truly signals the Senate wants to help remedy the mistake of last year's law," said Liz Gorman, a Charlotte mother who moved to Colorado in 2013 to get her daughter on CBD oils. "Lots of steps in this process. But I'm excited about what happened today."

Of the fifty state senators, two were absent Wednesday and one didn't vote. The result was 47-0 to pass this amended bill.

The Senator who ran the bill, Tommy Tucker, is from Union County. He wasn't a huge supporter last year, but is now.

House Representative Pat McElraft, the bill's original sponsor, says her goal is to get the bill voted on in the House this week. If that doesn't happen, it'll have to wait until the week of July 13.

If approved, it's back to NC Governor Pat McCrory's desk.

Other points of interest?

  • Bill still doesn't say where you're supposed to get it.
  • Bill does allow you to get the medicine from another jurisdiction.
  • Bill doesn't give permission to cultivate.
  • Bill was amended to say the oil must have less than 0.9% of THC (an increase in the original amount).
  • Senate added a section about reviewing the law six years from now to see if it's working.

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