(UPDATE: The NC Senate Finance Committee approved SB 3 in a committee hearing on Wednesday, February 22. The bill now proceeds to the Senate Rules Committee for consideration.) After a hearing last week, SB 3, commonly known as the “NC Compassionate Care Act,” passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. This bill 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 shared some of the dangers of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, saying, “The American Psychiatric Association opposes Cannabis as medicine, stating ‘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.’”
In addition, Royall addressed the issue of PTSD among military veterans, which has been put forth as a primary justification for the bill, “The US Department of Veterans Affairs website section entitled Cannabis Use and PTSD Among Veterans says, ‘research today does not support cannabis as an effective PTSD treatment, and some studies suggest cannabis can be harmful, particularly when used for long periods of time. Given these concerns, cannabis is not recommended for the treatment of PTSD.’”
Despite the claims of this bill that marijuana would be a beneficial treatment for a variety of mental and physical illnesses, the science behind it is lacking. For example, the American Medical Association 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.”