2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

Another year has gone by with North Carolina lawmakers having done nothing to improve medical cannabis access for their constituents. While a bipartisan bill to establish a medical cannabis access program has been debated by state legislators in North Carolina, it has yet to pass.

If lawmakers wish to continue their efforts in 2022, they can start by removing arbitrary caps on THC levels in authorized cannabis products to allow for more effective treatment. Legislators should also seek to cover patients with a diversity of health conditions through significant expansion of the state’s list of conditions eligible for cannabis treatment. ASA also encourages immediately implementing statutory protections for patients related to housing, employment, education, and parental rights. Legislators in North Carolina should consider creating a stringent set of product safety standards, and a system of third-party labs to test the safety of products. Finally, authorizing a licensing system to support cultivation and sale of in-state medical cannabis and related products to patients is a basic requirement for medical cannabis access, but legislators should also consider permitting patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis at home for medical use. Ideally, caregivers should even have the option to become retailers themselves or to sell products tested for safety by a third-party laboratory to retailers for consumption by patients. Such a system would offer patients a greater variety of options to treat their condition, and address cost challenges cannabis patients face due to the lack of insurance coverage of cannabis products.