Medical cannabis could be legalized in North Carolina thanks to this new bill

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Early last month, a very important cannabis bill was filed by the North Carolina House of Representatives to legalize medical cannabis in North Carolina.

Referred to as House Bill 401, the proposed bill would establish the Medical Cannabis Act. This law would essentially shield patients who possess a registry identification card and a debilitating medical condition from arrest and prosecution. The same applies for their physicians and caregivers.

The Medical Cannabis Act would also permit the plant’s medical use, so long as it is used “in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.”

Study shows positive response from cannabis legalization

An in-depth study was conducted by the Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University at Pueblo to determine the economic and social impacts of cannabis legalization in the county. The outcome indicated that the legal weed industry could have a positive impact on income equality.

“Educational achievement in Pueblo still lags behind the rest of Colorado. To address that deficit, Pueblo County has instituted what appears to be the world’s first cannabis tax-funded college scholarship program,” the study researchers wrote.

Potential correlations were noticed between homelessness and harsh cannabis laws. According to the researchers, homelessness among military veterans has plummeted countrywide, but has soared in Colorado.

This “may in part be due to veterans who are migrating to obtain legal cannabis (e.g. for treatment for PTSD),” say the researchers, who added that “cannabis migrants have a real but unknown impact on homeless statistics in Pueblo, including those known as cannabis refugees (who are individuals who cross state lines to acquire cannabis to medically treat their own or family member’s illnesses).”

The researchers believe that “cannabis prohibitions may be a key factor that results in homeless cannabis refugees.”

UNC professor is skeptical about cannabis cultivation emissions

(Pictured) UNC Professor William Vizuete

Although some patients could benefit from legalized medical cannabis in North Carolina, one UNC professor is concerned about possible health risks linked to the cultivation process.

William Vizuete is from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He recently visited Colorado to investigate the emissions that cannabis plants emit during the growing process. He also researched the potential negative impact that cannabis plant emissions may have on air quality.

“When you have these gases coming from the plants, they can mix with car emissions, for example, or other man-made emissions. There’s the possibility that they can mix together, react and form particles: ozone, smog and visibility issues,” Vizuete said. “That process is well known, but what isn’t known is if there are enough gases coming from these plants such that it can have an impact on air quality.”

Vizuete and his team of researchers are determined to figure out the potential adverse effects of cannabis emissions on urban and rural locations, prior to the legalization of medical cannabis in North Carolina.