RALEIGH – North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory today said he will sign legislation that will allow neurologists to recommend a marijuana-extract oil to patients suffering from intractable seizures and epilepsy. House Bill 1220, which would allow such patients to use an oil derived from a strain of marijuana that is high in the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) but low in the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), was overwhelmingly approved by both chambers of the General Assembly. No other conditions would be covered by the law.

“It’s very encouraging to see North Carolina take this first step toward more compassionate medical marijuana laws, but this bill overlooks countless North Carolinians suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDs, multiple sclerosis and other serious conditions who could benefit from safe and legal access to medical marijuana,” said Sarah Preston, ACLU-NC Policy Director. “The General Assembly and Governor McCrory should be applauded for demonstrating compassion for sufferers of epilepsy, but under current state law, other patients who use marijuana to relieve their symptoms are still wrongly treated as criminals. We urge lawmakers to extend their compassion to other patients who could benefit from safe and legal access to marijuana by either approving or putting on the ballot a proposal for a well-regulated and more inclusive medical marijuana system in North Carolina.”

Another N.C. bill, HB 1161, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Alexander, would place a constitutional amendment on November’s ballot that would allow licensed doctors to recommend marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, ALS, and other debilitating conditions, and would create a regulated system so patients could access their medicine safely.

A poll earlier this year shows that 63 percent of North Carolinians would approve of such a medical marijuana program.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have approved similar laws that would allow doctors to recommend marijuana to patients with certain conditions. Medical organizations that support doctor-supervised access to medical marijuana include the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the Lymphoma Foundation of America, the National Association for Public Health Policy, and the Epilepsy Foundation.