Bill Summary for S 3 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Feb 21 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 3 (Public) Filed Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Intro. by Rabon, Lee, Lowe.

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Bill summary

Senate committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following changes.

Amends the definitions set out in new GS 90-113.112, as follows. Amends the definition of adequate supply to require that the patient’s physician determine the amount of useable cannabis. Adds and defines the term supplier registry identification card as a document issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) under GS 90-113.120(f). Adds and defines the term supplier identification cardholder as a person who has been issued a supplier registry identification card.

Amends the membership of the Compassionate Use Advisory Board in proposed GS 90-113.113 to require one of the Governor’s appointees be a medical doctor recommended by the North Carolina Medical Board, who may be a former or current member of the North Carolina Medical Board (was, a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy licensed in the state).

Amends proposed GS 90-113.114 by requiring the Department of Health and Human Services, upon request, to provide information in the medical cannabis registry database to the North Carolina Medical Board. Also requires physicians to update the medical cannabis registry database within 48 hours (was, three days) after any change is made to the original written certification to reflect the change.

Amends the provisions of proposed GS 90-113.116, concerning the requirement to carry and disclose registry identification cards to law enforcement, to also make the provisions applicable to carriers of supplier registry identification cards. Also requires displaying the relevant card and identification when approached or addressed by a law enforcement officer, no longer requiring the officer to request the information.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.117, concerning the medical cannabis registry database. Allows law enforcement agencies to contact DHHS to confirm a registry identification cardholder’s identity if the law enforcement agency is unable to verify the registry identification cardholder by using the medical cannabis verification system (was, law enforcement agencies may contact DHHS to confirm cardholders). Adds to the items that must be included in the database: (1) the adequate supply of cannabis or cannabis-infused product prescribed to the qualified patient and (2) the prescribed delivery method for the cannabis or cannabis-infused product for the qualified patient.

Amends the membership of the Medical Cannabis Production Commission (Commission) under proposed GS 90-113.118 to require one member be a member of the Compassionate Use Advisory Board appointed under GS 90-113.113(a)(1) (a member appointed by the Governor) (was, must be a physician member of the North Carolina Medical Board designated by the North Carolina Medical Board). Amends proposed GS 90-113.118(h), which gives the Commission power to approve applications for a medical cannabis supplier license, as follows. Under (h), suppliers must operate at least one medical cannabis center in a Tier 1 county; adds that Tier 1 counties means the 2023 County Tier Designations published by the Department of Commerce according to the specified statute. Also adds the requirement that the Commission must consider the following criteria in awarding licenses: (1) requires giving priority to any supplier who commits to establishing a medical cannabis center in more than one Tier 1 county and (2) requires giving priority to a supplier who commits to establishing the eight allowed medical cannabis centers in a  way that demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the equitable distribution of medical cannabis centers throughout the State in order for registry ID card holders to access an adequate supply of cannabis and cannabis-infused products, while preventing an overconcentration of medical cannabis centers in any one area (allows considering county population in making this determination). Also amends the Commission’s power to adopt rules by specifying that the Commission, in consultation with the North Carolina Medical Care Commission, has the authority to adopt rules (was, requires the adoption of rules). Adds that the rules become effective when adopted and pursuant to the provisions of GS Chapter 90. Makes additional clarifying changes to the statute.

Amends  proposed GS 90-113.119 by amending the requirements of the seed-to-sale tracking system to require that it also allow real-time, 24-hour access by state or local law enforcement agencies, in addition to the already listed DHHS and Commission.

Amends GS 90-113.120(f), concerning supplier register identification cards, as follows. Expands upon the individuals who may be issued a supplier registry identification card to also include supplier owner. Adds the requirement that cardholders carry the card and a valid identification when the cardholder is possessing cannabis or cannabis-infused products. Requires the card to be printed with tamper-resistant technology and to contain the seven specified items, including the supplier’s name and the name of the supplier’s business, and the cardholder’s photo. Further amends the statute by expanding upon factors that disqualify a person for licensure as a medical cannabis supplier to prohibit licensure of a person: (1) who has had a license previously revoked by the Commission or (2) who has been convicted in a federal court or in any other jurisdiction of an offense substantially similar to a specified listed disqualifying offense.

Amends GS 90-113.122 by making technical changes.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.123 to extend who is given an exemption from criminal laws related to cannabis to include a supplier as well as a supplier’s employee, agent, or principal. Amends the conditions under which that exemption is lost (1) so that it is applicable to a supplier, a supplier’s employee, agent, or principal (was, a person who is not a qualified patient or a designated caregiver but who is otherwise authorized to possess, produce, deliver, or transport cannabis for medical use); (2) so that the acts that result in the loss of exemption no longer include driving when impaired in violation of the specified statutes; and (3) so that the acts that result in the loss of exemption to otherwise include production, possession, distributing, or dispensing cannabis or cannabis-infused products in a manner that is not consistent with new Article 5H. Adds that nothing in the statute extends the protections of the statute to any person, including a supplier or their employee, agent, or principal, to allow that person to acquire, possess, manufacture, produce, use, sell, distribute, dispense, or transport cannabis in a manner that is inconsistent with Article 5H. Makes additional clarifying and technical changes.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.124 to require, in order to be exempt from arrest, prosecution, or penalty, that the cannabis or cannabis-infused product possessed or purchased by a registry identification cardholder have a package with the required label. Removes from this statute the provision providing suppliers immunity for producing, possessing, distributing or dispensing cannabis or cannabis-infused products. Makes additional clarifying changes.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.126 by adding the following. Makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor to possess cannabis or a cannabis-infused product, other than in a closed retailer’s container as packaged, in a passenger compartment of a vehicle in a public vehicular area or on a public street or highway. Makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to enter or attempt to enter a licensed medical cannabis center where cannabis or a cannabis-infused product is sold, or to obtain or attempt to obtain cannabis or a cannabis-infused product, or to obtain or attempt to obtain permission for such a purchase, by using or attempting to use a fraudulent or altered registry identification card.

Amends GS 90-94 by making conforming changes.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.127 by expanding upon the items that may be disclosed by the medical cannabis verification system, to include the adequate supply of the cannabis or cannabis-infused product.

Amends proposed GS 90-113.132 to require the rules adopted by DHHS related to packaging and labeling of cannabis and cannabis-infused products provide for uniform packaging and labeling, as well as safe, appropriate, and accurate packaging and labeling.