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Marijuana Bill Gets Hearing In State Senate Committee

marijuana leaves with pills and bottle on blue background

The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee met this week to discuss SB 3, entitled the “NC Compassionate Care Act,” which would legalize the use of marijuana for a variety of “medical” purposes. Sponsored by Senators Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), and Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth), this bill proposes to establish an extensive framework of licensing for manufacturing, distributing, selling, possessing, and using marijuana.

In testimony before the committee, NC Family Counsel Jere Royall said, “At this point in time, the research clearly shows that the harms and costs to individuals, families, and the state greatly outweigh any potential benefits.”

NC Family urges you to visit NC Family’s Action Center to contact your State Senator and urge him or her to oppose SB 3.

What the Bill Counts as a “Medical” Purpose

SB 3 claims that, “Modern medical research has found that cannabis and cannabinoid compounds are effective at alleviating pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with several debilitating medical conditions.” It proposes that marijuana be legal to prescribe for the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • ALS
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe or persistent nausea related to end-of-life or hospice care
  • A terminal illness when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
  • Any other serious medical condition added by the Compassionate Use Advisory Board

The Science Behind the Medicine

Any step taken in medicine should require extensive amounts of research to verify the safety and effectiveness of that step. Based on current research, here’s where experts stand on the topic of marijuana as medicine:

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has not approved marijuana for medical use. It has approved one cannabis-derived drug product to treat seizures and three synthetic cannabis-related drug products to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy as well as loss of weight and appetite for AIDS patients.

American Academy of Neurology

This organization states that it currently does “not support the use of, nor any assertion of therapeutic benefits of, cannabis products as medicines for neurologic disorders in the absence of sufficient scientific peer-reviewed research to determine their safety and specific efficacy.” The Academy points out that, “The FDA-approved plant-based CBD product is an example that has now proven to be sufficiently safe and effective for the treatment of seizures for certain epilepsy patients.”

American Psychiatric Association

In its position statement in opposition to cannabis as medicine, the APA encourages further research and states, “There is no current scientific evidence that cannabis is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to harm, given the effects of cannabis on neurological development.”

American Medical Association

In its policy statement, the AMA says, “Cannabis for medicinal use should not be legalized through the state legislative, ballot imitative or referendum process.” In a related friend of the court brief the AMA states, “While it is possible there may be beneficial medicinal uses of marijuana, numerous evidence-based studies demonstrate that significant deleterious effects abound. . . without question, the public health risks are immense:

  • Drug abuse and addiction.
  • Change in brain function.
  • Lung disease.
  • Intoxication and impaired driving.
  • Developmental interference.
  • Impaired cognition.
  • Psychological illness.
  • Cardiovascular abnormalities.
  • Negative social functioning effects.
  • Cancer.

The experts in this field have made it clear that there is not enough research proving the medical benefits of marijuana to offset the known damage it can cause. Furthermore, many of them say that if there was reason to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, state government is not the appropriate route.

What You Can Do

We encourage you to visit NC Family’s Action Center to easily contact your State Senator and urge him or her to oppose Senate Bill 3. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on this bill Tuesday, February 21, so time is of the essence.


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