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House delays discussion on medical marijuana

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RALEIGH, N.C. - A House committee was poised to consider a bill Tuesday that would have cleared the way for use of a kind of medicinal marijuana to treat a seizure disorder. But the committee meeting was canceled just before it was scheduled to meet.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said the bill wasn't ready to be considered and that he did not know when the meeting would be rescheduled.

The bill would allow for hemp oil extract taken from a marijuana plant to be used to treat intractable epilepsy, a seizure disorder unresponsive to three or more treatment options overseen by a neurologist.

According to the current version of the bill, a person could use marijuana oil extract if they meet certain conditions. The person has to suffer from intractable epilepsy, be 18 years old, a North Carolina resident and be examined by a neurologist who recommends hemp extract oil. The patient would also have to pay $50 the Department of Health and Human Services, apply for a permit and submit their contact information to a government database for patients who are using the hemp oil for medicinal purposes. The database would be accessible to law enforcement agencies.

The bill would shield caregivers and doctors from prosecution if they administer hemp oil extract to a patient who meets all the criteria. Hemp oil usage would be legal starting October 1 if approved, according to the bill.

The bill also encourages Wake Forest University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to research the effectiveness of hemp oil on the seizure disorder.

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