nearly 5,000 years ago to Asia. Through the 1800s, hemp was used widely in the
production of fibers, papers and textiles. By the early 1900s, hemp cultivation began
to decline due to increased government regulations and the 1937 Marijuana Tax
Act. The North Carolina Controlled Substances Act of 1970 effectively banned the
production of hemp as a commodity until the approval of the federal Farm Bill in
2014, which allowed the cultivation of hemp for industrial uses.
While hemp and marijuana originate from the same species, hemp contains only trace
amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana.
A second bill under consideration in Raleigh, Senate Bill 711, was stuck in the
House of Representatives as the short session of the legislature ended. The bill, known
as the Compassionate Care Act, would have legalized cannabis and cannabis-infused
products for those suffering from
debilitating pain and nausea with
diseases including cancer, HIV,
ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s
disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy,
glaucoma or post-traumatic stress
Also sponsored by Lee and
Brunswick County’s Sen. Bill
Rabon and Forsyth County’s Paul
Lowe, the medical marijuana
legislation made it through Senate
committee hearings and passed
the Senate with a 36-7 vote before
stalling in committee in the House.
“During the first committee
meeting for the Compassionate
Care Act, veteran after veteran
spoke about the struggles they
have been through due to their
military service to this country.
All of them were dealing with
PTSD and many had either
contemplated or attempted suicide.
Their testimonies that day changed
a lot of legislators’ minds about
the bill,” says a spokesman for Lee.
“SB 711 passed the Senate this year
with broad bipartisan support,
but the House chose not to pass
it. Although the short session is
over, the work is not. Senator Lee
is committed to passing this legis-lation
and we hope to get it done