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Medical marijuana legalization gets second Senate vote Monday

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(The Center Square) – Medical marijuana legalization in North Carolina has taken a small step, with passage on the first of two required votes in the Senate.

The second is on the calendar for Monday.

Whether it’ll get any floor time in the House of Representatives, however, remains skeptical. There, Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, says there’s not enough votes.

Hemp-Derived Consumables/Con Sub Changes, as House Bill 563 introduced April 5, 2023, is also known, was favored 33-9 in the upper chamber. Against it were Sens. Ted Alexander, R-Cleveland; Jim Burgin, R-Harnett; Carl Ford, R-Rowan; Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson; Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth; Tom McInnis, R-Moore; Brad Overcash, R-Gaston; Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico; and Eddie Settle, R-Wilkes.

Though the legislation originated with Rep. Ken Fontenot, R-Wilson, and has undergone changes since, it is the House where past Senate attempts to legalize marijuana have been extinguished. North Carolina is one of 12 states where it is not legal medically, and one of 25 where it is not legal recreationally and medically.

Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, has recounted on the chamber floor his situation two decades ago. He received chemotherapy for colon cancer, overcoming an 18-month life expectancy he says because his physician recommended smoking marijuana.

Senators, already expected to vote on their state budget amendment proposal on Monday, are scheduled for the second vote on HB563. If favored again, the measure would be on the way back to the House for consideration.

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