House approves moped plates, hemp extract

Posted June 19, 2014

— House lawmakers easily approved two bills Thursday that were expected to be controversial – requiring license plates for mopeds and legalizing the medical use of a compound found in marijuana.

CBD oil 

House Bill 1220 would allow the medically supervised use of cannabidiol, or CBD, a compound found in marijuana.

Sponsor Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, was overcome with emotion as she pleaded with the House to help the many children in the state who suffer from intractable epilepsy disorders. She told the House the plants used to make the drug have been genetically altered to produce almost no THC, the psychoactive substance found in regular marijuana. 

"This genetically engineered plant is no longer called marijuana. With the [federal] Farm Bill last year, it’s now considered hemp," McElraft said. "The 'M word' doesn’t even appear in the bill, so don’t be afraid that this is the camel’s nose under the tent."

That was the concern of social conservatives, some of whom worried the legislation would open the door to legalizing medical marijuana use in North Carolina. But supporters of the bill assured them that wasn't the case. 

Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, a doctor, said the legislation is needed to allow a clinical FDA trial of a CBD drug at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

The measure, which struggled at first to get enough traction to even win a committee hearing, breezed through the House 111-2.

It now goes to the Senate, which may or may not take it up in what's left of the short session. 

Moped plates 

As critics are quick to point out, proposals to regulate mopeds have been floated for years at the General Assembly under both parties with little success. That changed Thursday, as House lawmakers voted 83-29 to require mopeds to have license plates and a Division of Motor Vehicles registration.

House Bill 1584 initially required mopeds to carry liability and personal injury insurance, but that section was removed from the bill in the House Finance Committee on Thursday morning, a change that apparently boosted the measure's support among members. 

"We’re still not requiring they have a driver's license. We are requiring that they have registration," said sponsor Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow. "This is not an attempt to keep anyone from driving a moped." 

The bill includes a study by the Transportation Oversight Committee into whether additional regulations for mopeds are necessary. Shepard said registration will provide the study with data on the number of mopeds on the roads, accident rates and other statistics. 

The yearly registration would cost $15. Owners would have to produce a manufacturer's certificate of origin for the moped. If they don't have one, they'd have to pay $40 to apply for a title. 

"I don’t think that’s asking too much of anyone," Shepard said.

Even after the insurance provision's removal, the proposal still got some push-back from both sides of the aisle.

"People on bicycles run into cars, too. There’s no difference. Will you do it to bicycles next year? Because it’s coming," said Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee. "People need basic transportation."

"We don’t need to get into the business of trying to regulate every single thing in this state to make money," said Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford. "If you're against regulation, don't vote for this."  

The final vote did not fall along party lines, with Republicans and Democrats on both sides.

Like the hemp oil bill, the moped bill also goes next to the Senate, where its fate is similarly uncertain.


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  • REPUBLICAN HANS Jun 20, 2014

    I'm a strong social and fiscal conservative, and anti marijuana legalization, however, if true scientific studies show this oil to benefit children with seizures, I don't see how you can be against it.

  • harleygrrlnc Jun 20, 2014

    Hope hemp oil becomes law very soon. So many kids that can't handle meds and losing their battle with their own self. If I had the funds, my Grandchild would be going across the US for major Tourette's treatment. Does anybody on two wheels know how to use hand signals? They don't know how to use turn signal or cut them off when they do use them!

  • David Lisle Jun 20, 2014
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    Out of control is correct. when they want to tax and regulate e-cigs and e-vaping even though you can get many of the e-vaping formulas that contain NO tobacco or nicotine! Anything to get more tax money! Next they will want to tax apple cider because the hot trend now is alcohol containing hard ciders. Lets tax grape juice also because it only fermentation away from wine! These people put little thought in to the unintended consequences of the legislation they want to inflict upon us.

  • harleygrrlnc Jun 20, 2014

    2nd try. Is it a moped or scooter? Moped 50cc. Scooter 50cc and higher cc's. Scooter = motorcycle laws ( tag, insurance, and NC mc endorsement ) You can't tell if it a moped or scooter by looking or if going over 35mph. Put a tag on moped and you will be rid of scooters breaking the rules.

  • Billy the Kid Jun 20, 2014

    I don't know why the left is so angry about the moped thing. It's more money to the government. It's what you stand for!

  • changein2016please! Jun 20, 2014

    I am glad they past the registration for mopeds. Mopeds are not like bicyclists. Cyclists know to stay to the right so cars have an opportunity to pass. Mopeds going 25-30 MPH on 45-55 mph roads plant themselves in the middle of the lane and it is an accident waiting to happen. I have seen mopeds on the 55 mph part of 401 back up traffic and cause cars to swerve as they come up to them around turns. I feel they should also be insured.

  • MrX-- Jun 20, 2014

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    Roller skates!

  • Gene Parsons Jun 20, 2014
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    I think we should require mopeds to be registered, along with bikes, baby strollers, children's wagons and horses . Just look at how much tax revenue we could collect and WASTE!

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Jun 20, 2014

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    Since the GOP claimed it gave everyone a tax break. When in reality they increased taxes on the bottom 80% of NC.

    FYI the GOP budget doesn't balance. Unless you count the pretend extra income from the lottery. It will be in the red the second they sign it.

  • Ty Shrake Jun 20, 2014
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    So balancing the budget is a BAD thing?

    And since when have Progressives ever been against fees and taxes?