CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Medical marijuana is back up for debate in the North Carolina General Assembly. Senator Bill Rabon’s Compassionate Care Act was the first bill filed in the NC Senate during the new legislative session.

Rabon, a cancer survivor and advocate for medical marijuana, filed and fought for this bill in last year’s legislative session. It passed with flying colors and bipartisan support in State Senate but was shut down in the House before even making it to a vote.

“There’s hardly a family in this state or in this nation that hasn’t been touched at some point by someone who would benefit from this,” Rabon said. 

But even if it does pass, Julia Rogers, a local hemp farmer-owner of Blackberry Ridge Farm, says it won’t benefit small-scale operations.

“I do think they need to reconsider how it will affect small businesses and farmers in the in the State. Farming is the second highest source of income for North Carolina. And I think that they should consider that this could be a good source of income for farmers, but the way they have the bill written, it is not going to favor businesses like ours, small businesses,” Rogers said. 

Rogers says the bill has already laid out 10 producers that would be allowed to grow and produce medical marijuana, all of which are large corporations.

Overall, Rogers is supportive of the passage of medical marijuana, and understands the benefits, she just wishes lawmakers opened up the opportunity to small, family businesses, like Blackberry Ridge Farm. Rogers said she reached out to her local representative, John Bradford, multiple times to discuss the proposed bill and the implications it might have on businesses like hers, but she never heard back.