North Carolina is one of 20 states in the nation that hasn’t legalized either the medical or recreational use of marijuana.

For years, bills to legalize medical marijuana in the state have been introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly, only to die in a committee.

This year is no different. A bill has been filed in the state legislature to legalize the medical use of cannabis. One also has been filed to decriminalize the use of a small amount of it.

Medical Use

States that have legalized medical marijuana are New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Florida, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii, according to Governing Magazine. Louisiana legalized medical marijuana but not in a form that can be smoked. And West Virginia legalized medical marijuana but only for cannabis-infused products, according to the magazine.

Under current North Carolina law, marijuana is a Schedule VI controlled substance. Possession of 4 ounces or less of it is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Possession of 16 ounces or more is a Class 1 felony under state law.

North Carolina lawmakers in recent years allowed those with intractable epilepsy to use hemp oil with less than 1 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical responsible for the high of marijuana.

The law says for a drug to fall into this category the Commission has to find, “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, or a relatively low potential for abuse in terms of risk to public health and potential to produce psychic or physiological dependence liability based upon present medical knowledge, or a need for further and continuing study to

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