NC House approves medical oil from marijuana plant

FILE PHOTO -- In this May 19, 2014 photo, a farmer holds a handful of hemp seeds, on a day of planting in Sterling, Colo. Marijuana’s square cousin, industrial hemp, has come out of the black market and is now legal for farmers to cultivate, opening up a new and potentially lucrative market. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The House has approved use of a medicinal oil made from a marijuana plant to treat people with epilepsy.

The bill passed Thursday after clearing two committees in less than 24 hours. It would allow hemp oil extract taken from marijuana plants to treat intractable epilepsy, a seizure disorder unresponsive to three or more treatment options. It would also prohibit doctors from being prosecuted for dispensing the medicine and would direct universities to research it. The bill was amended to encourage instead of require some universities to research it.

Through tears, Rep. Pat McElraft, a Carteret County Republican, emphasized that the oil was not the same thing as medical marijuana and said the bill will give hope to thousands of North Carolina children.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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