Bill Summary for S 711 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Apr 9 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 711 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Intro. by Rabon, Lee, Lowe.

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Bill summary

Enacts new Article 5H to GS Chapter 90, to be cited as the "NC Compassionate Care Act," requiring the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue "registry identification cards" to persons who qualify as qualified patients or designated caregivers. Sets forth legislative findings, the purpose of the Act, and defined terms for the Article. Specifies conditions under which provisions of the act are applicable to minors. Specifies criteria and procedures for DHHS issuance or renewal of registry identification cards and requires that DHHS maintain a confidential list of persons to whom cards are issued. Allows DHHS to verify for law enforcement whether a card is valid and to report to law enforcement about falsified or fraudulent information submitted to DHHS. Makes violation of the confidentiality provision a Class 1 misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $1,000. Directs the NC Medical Care Commission to adopt rules to implement the provisions regarding registry cards, establishing requirements for the issuance of registry identification cards to qualified patients and designated caregivers who meet certain minimum specifications. Requires the rules be adopted no later than 120 days after the effective date of the act.

Provides civil and criminal immunity for a registry identification card holder for purchasing or possessing cannabis for medical use if the quantity does not exceed an "adequate supply" for the patient as determined by his or her physician. Adequate supply is defined by the act to, among other things, (1) apply only to cannabis from an intrastate source and (2) limit permitted supply to an amount needed for a 30-day period. Provides for exclusion of the weight of other ingredients infused or added to cannabis for consumption or use by a qualified patient in determining whether the patient is in possession of an amount that exceeds the patient's adequate supply. Also provides immunity and protection from penalties for licensed producers and distributors of cannabis or cannabis-infused products consistent with the Article. 

Directs the Medical Cannabis Production Commission, as established below, to establish a medical cannabis supply system to provide a safe, regulated supply of cannabis appropriate for medical use by qualified patients with a valid registry identification card and to generate revenue sufficient to maintain and operate the system. Allows for legislative appropriations to establish the system, but requires operation to be funded by authorized fees. Establishes criteria for licensing of medical cannabis suppliers (for the sale of cannabis, cannabis-infused products, and related paraphernalia to qualified patients and caregivers holding a valid registry identification card, establishing or operating a business to produce cannabis-infused products, and cultivating cannabis for use by a licensed medical cannabis center or licensed producer of cannabis-infused products), as well as for suspending or revoking licenses. States sales and supply restrictions of licensees. Provides for criminal immunity for licensed medical cannabis suppliers as specified, excluding conduct described in four instances, such as driving while impaired by cannabis. Provides for monthly fees and reporting of licensees. Requires revenues remaining after fully funding the established priorities to be transferred to the General Fund. Limits the Commission to licensing 10 medical cannabis suppliers, with each supplier limiting to operating no more than four medical cannabis centers. Provides for administrative and judicial review of administrative decisions. 

Establishes the Medical Cannabis Production Commission with oversight of medical cannabis supplier licensing and licensee discipline. Requires approval of licensee applications upon recommendation by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by majority vote of members present and voting. Details Commission membership, terms, leadership, vacancies, removal, quorum, and member expenses. Details disciplinary authority. Requires the Commission to consult with the NC Medical Care Commission to adopt implementing provisions to establish qualifications and requirements of licensure, for production be a supplier, and for proper regulation of medical cannabis centers and cannabis product facilities operated by suppliers, and well as establishing civil penalties for minor violations.

Expresses the General Assembly's intent that the University of North Carolina system undertake scientific research regarding the administration of cannabis as a part of medical treatment and, subject to approval by the UNC Board of Governors, directs the university to create the North Carolina Cannabis Research Program.

Provides for construction of the Article. Provides a severability clause. Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to issue temporary certificates for participation in the regulated medical supply system, as established, in the manner specified, and maintain a list of all temporary certificates issued. Makes conforming changes to GS 106-121 (definitions under Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act). Amends GS 105-164.4(a) to impose a privilege tax of 18% on specified cannabis sales.