H                                                                                                                                                  1






Short Title:     Medical Use of Marijuana/Study.


Sponsors:       Representative Luebke.


Referred to:   Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.


April 12, 2001



AN ACT to authorize the legislative research commission to study the lawful possession and use of marijuana for the treatment or alleviation of pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions.


Whereas, modern medical research has discovered a beneficial use for marijuana in treating or alleviating the pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions, as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in March, 1999; and

Whereas, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, more than 99 out of every 100 marijuana arrests are made under state law, rather than federal law; and

Whereas, because the overwhelming majority of marijuana arrests are made under state law, changing state law would have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marijuana; and

Whereas, the states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington permit the medical use and cultivation of marijuana; and

Whereas, the State is not required to enforce federal law or prosecute persons engaging in activities prohibited by federal law, a State law permitting the lawful use and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes would not put the State in violation of federal law; and

Whereas, the State should consider reasonable actions that would benefit seriously ill people by alleviating pain or other symptoms of debilitating illness and that will not pose a risk of harm to other citizens; Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  The Legislative Research Commission may study the lawful possession, cultivation, and use of marijuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating medical conditions.  In conducting the study, the Commission may consider the following:

(1)       Laws of other states that permit the medical use and cultivation of marijuana, including the experiences of those states with respect to the benefits realized from permitting lawful use and cultivation.

(2)       The specific illnesses or conditions that can be successfully treated or alleviated with the use of marijuana under the care and supervision of a physician.

(3)       The benefits and risks to patients of using marijuana for the treatment or alleviation of the symptoms of a medical condition.

(4)       The method for the lawful distribution of marijuana for medical purposes.

(5)       The prohibitions, restrictions, and limitations that should apply regarding the medical use of marijuana.

(6)       The interaction of State and federal laws governing the possession, sale, distribution, and use of marijuana, and the effect on the State's compliance with federal law in permitting the use, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana for a specified medical condition.

(7)       Other matters that the Commission deems appropriate and useful to conduct the study.

SECTION 2.  The Commission may submit a progress report of its study to the 2002 Regular Session of the 2001 General Assembly, upon its convening, and shall submit its final report to the 2003 General Assembly upon its convening. Progress and final reports of the Commission may include recommended legislation.

SECTION 3.  This act is effective when it becomes law.