Raleigh, N.C. — The House Finance Committee signed off on a bill Thursday that would allow certain patients to use oil extracted from marijuana plants to treat seizures. It now heads to the House floor for consideration.
Patients would pay a $50 registration fee so that local sheriffs could be notified they are using the substance, which does not produce a high.
Members of the House Health Committee approved the bill Wednesday, but one health-related question did temporarily stall Thursday morning's meeting.
"Is there someone from the medical community who can answer a question?" asked House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell.
When no one answered, Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, the bill's sponsor, piped up, "I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express."
After waiting for the chuckles to die away, Starnes retorted, "I'm not that sick."
"You could be. The committee isn't over yet," quipped Rep. Mitchell Setzer, R-Catawba.
At that point, Rep. Jim Fulgham, R-Wake, a neurosurgeon, walked into the committee and stemmed the comedy.
The marijuana extract, he explained, is being studied around the world.
"It has been found to be effective so far ... in treating intractable seizures," Fulgham said, describing patients who had multiple seizures every day and for whom other drugs didn't work.
The measure passed on a voice vote.