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North Carolina Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

The North Carolina Senate gave initial approval a bill to legalize medical marijuana on Tuesday, putting it one additional procedural vote away from being sent to the House shortly after a top lawmaker there said his chamber is positioned to enact the reform this session despite blocking similar legislation last year.

The measure from Sen. Bill Rabon (R) cleared its second reading in the Senate in a 36-10 vote, about a week after it easily sailed through three committees. Third reading passage is expected in the coming days, a step that will formally transmit it to the other body of the legislature.

The legislation would allow patients with qualifying conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and multiple sclerosis to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

The bill “is intended to make only changes to existing North Carolina laws that are necessary to protect patients and their doctors from criminal and civil penalties,” Rabon said on the floor ahead of the vote, and “is not intended to change current civil and criminal laws governing the use of cannabis for non medical purposes.”

It would “allow for tightly regulated use of medical cannabis only by those with debilitating

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