Bill Summary for S 669 (2021-2022)

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Summary date: 

Apr 9 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 669 (Public) Filed Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Intro. by Nickel, Murdock, Marcus.

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Bill summary

Adds new Article 43, North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act, to GS Chapter 90. Provides legislative findings. Provides broad civil and criminal immunity for a "qualified patient" or a "designated caregiver" 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 as an amount of usable cannabis derived solely from an intrastate source that does not exceed what is reasonably necessary to assure the uninterrupted availability of cannabis in any form recommended by the qualified patient's physician for the purpose of alleviating the symptoms or effects of the qualified patient's medical condition. Conditions the Article's protections upon the qualified patient or designated caregivers' possession of a written certification, defined as a statement in a patient's medical records or a statement signed by a physician indicating that, in the physician's professional opinion, the patient has a medical condition and the potential health benefits of the medical use of cannabis would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient, and provides that a written certification creates a rebuttable presumption of permissible use if the person does not possess more than an adequate supply. Prohibits a school, employer, or landlord from refusing to enroll, employ, or lease to, or to otherwise penalize, a person because of his or her status under the act or the permissible possession or use of cannabis. Also provides immunity and protection from penalties for licensed producers of medical cannabis and for physicians for conduct consistent with the act. Provides other protections relating to conduct of law enforcement, child custody or visitation, constructive possession, and the unauthorized substances tax, including prohibiting law enforcement from invading private property on suspicion of cannabis possession of an amount less than 2 ounces.

The act does not permit a person to control a motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while impaired by cannabis; undertake any task under the influence of cannabis that would constitute negligence or malpractice; or smoke cannabis in a school bus or on public transportation, on school grounds, in a correctional facility, or in any public place in the state. No government-sponsored medical assistance program or private health insurer is required by the act to cover costs of medical use of cannabis, and an employer is not required to accommodate use in the workplace.

Directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish a medical cannabis supply system to provide a safe, regulated supply of cannabis appropriate for medical use by qualified patients with a written certification and to generate revenue sufficient to maintain and operate the system. Prohibits use of appropriations from the General Fund to establish or operate the system, which must be funded by authorized fees. Establishes criteria for licensing of medical cannabis supply centers (for the sale of cannabis, cannabis-infused products, and related paraphernalia to qualified patients and caregivers holding a written certification), producers of medical cannabis, and producers of cannabis-infused products, as well as for suspending or revoking licenses. Requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to maintain a confidential list of licensees and specifies when it may release information to law enforcement. Requires the Board of Agriculture, in consultation with the Medical Care Commission, to adopt rules to implement the supply system, and provides for temporary rules in the interim. Specifies when medical use of cannabis may be asserted by qualified patients and caregivers as an affirmative defense to a criminal charge. Expresses the General Assembly's intent that the University of North Carolina system undertake scientific research regarding the efficacy and safety of the medical use of cannabis and, subject to approval by the UNC Board of Governors, directs the university to create the North Carolina Cannabis Research Program. 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).