RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – A group of veterans made their way to Raleigh to show their support for legalizing medical marijuana in the state. 

After the NC Compassionate Care Act was passed in the State Senate a month ago, medical marijuana is one step closer to becoming legal in North Carolina. Now, local veterans George Papastrat and David DW Hamill were two of 12 who traveled to Raleigh to have their voices heard. 

“We came up with a group of veterans from various branches of service and different walks of life to talk about their experience using cannabis and medical marijuana over other types of prescription narcotics,” said Papastrat. 

They said they’re more optimistic about this go-around for it to pass.  

“I came last year and sat across from some of the same representatives. And some that were very resistant last year are more open-minded this year,” said Hamill. “This is about giving a tool in the tool belt of a physician’s hands, trying to prescribe medications that the side effects actually cause suicide, we talk about fighting the 22 a day, this is one of those fights that we can put to the forefront.” 

The bill cleared the NC Senate in early March. Now, it’s set to hit the House within a couple of weeks.

“We’re hoping that they’re going to be moving it very soon. And we feel very confident that it’ll pass,” said NC Sen. Michael Lazzara, who co-sponsored the bill. “Being in a military community and being around folks that have had difficulties with either mental health or PTSD. This is just an alternative to highly addictive medications.” 

Papastrat and Hamill plan to lobby again when it picks up in the house, not only for themselves but for other veterans who are in the same boat.  

“Every story is the same, it’s a change where they can live as a productive member of society, where the demons, the dragons, the voices, the thoughts are subdued to where they can get back what we have gained from our experiences serving our country,” said Papastrat.