As a Republican state senator representing a district with a significant population of military veterans, I firmly believe in the principles of personal liberty, limited government intervention, and supporting those who have bravely served our nation. That is why I am advocating for the passage of the Compassionate Care Act, a conservative piece of legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis products to a limited subset of patients to treat a strict list of debilitating medical issues. This bill aligns with our conservative values by addressing the unique health care needs of our veterans through scientific treatment while also providing safeguards to ensure responsible and appropriate use of the medicine. 

Our veterans have made great sacrifices for our country, often returning home with chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other debilitating conditions. By passing the Compassionate Care Act, we can ensure these heroes have access to an additional treatment option that has proven effective in relieving their symptoms. It is our duty to support their well-being and provide them with the care they need and deserve. 

The Compassionate Care Act is grounded in scientific research and medical expertise. Numerous studies have highlighted the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for conditions such as nausea due to chemotherapy, chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD — which disproportionately affects veterans. By authorizing medical cannabis, we enable veterans and their healthcare providers to explore this treatment based on evidence and individual needs. This legislation is not an endorsement or authorization of recreational use. Rather, it acknowledges the potential benefits for those facing debilitating medical conditions. 

As Republicans, we value personal liberty and limited government intervention. The Compassionate Care Act respects these principles by allowing individuals, in consultation with their doctors, to make informed decisions about their health care. Our bill provides a limited set of 14 conditions, all based on science, which doctors may treat with a prescription for medical cannabis. Furthermore, the bill requires proper supervision by a physician — and only allows patients to have a 30-day supply of the medicine. 

Medical cannabis provides a safer alternative to potentially addictive opioids and other pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed for chronic pain management. By authorizing medical cannabis, we can help combat the opioid crisis and protect our veterans from the risks associated with long-term opioid use. Medical cannabis has a lower risk of addiction and fewer adverse side effects, making it a viable option for those who have served our country and deserve the best possible care. 

There are 38 other states who have authorized medical cannabis. Conservative-leaning states like Arkansas and Florida have successfully implemented medical cannabis programs, demonstrating that it is possible to balance compassionate care with responsible regulation. By studying their experiences and learning from their successes, we have crafted a tailored approach that meets the unique needs of North Carolina while preserving our conservative values. 

Passing the Compassionate Care Act is more than a legislative action — it is a moral obligation to our military veterans. By providing them with access to medical cannabis as a potential treatment option, we uphold our conservative principles of personal liberty and limited government intervention while addressing their unique health care needs. This is evidence-based legislation, which will no doubt serve as a model for other states on how to properly regulate medical cannabis. It’s time for us to come together and support our veterans by passing the Compassionate Care Act.