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Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act

In 2014, the North Carolina legislature signed House Bill 1220, the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act into law.
It was amended in 2015 (see House Bill 766). The purpose of this act is to permit the use of hemp extract as an alternative treatment for children with intractable epilepsy.

Law enforcement officers please find caregiver verification information below in FAQ #10.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is hemp extract?
Hemp extract is an extract from a cannabis plant, or a mixture or preparation containing cannabis plant material.

2. Who qualifies as a patient?
A person who has been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy for which other treatment options have not been effective. The patient must be diagnosed and referred by a neurologist licensed in North Carolina There is no specific age limitations for patients.

3. Who qualifies as a caregiver?
A caregiver must be at least 18 years of age, a resident of North Carolina and the parent, legal guardian or custodian of a patient.

4. How do I register as a caregiver?
Download, print and complete the Caregiver Registration Form. The information on this form must be legible. The form must be signed and include a photocopy of the caregiver’s ID (NCDL, NC State Issue ID or Military ID).

Send the form to the following address:

NC Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Registration
3008 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699

Once all materials have been completed and your registration has been processed, you will receive a letter from Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services with your status as a caregiver. This letter must be with you when carrying the hemp extract.

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5. Am I allowed to carry the hemp extract outside my own home?
Yes. As long as you have your DHHS Caregiver Registration letter you can carry the hemp extract with you.

6. Are there limitations on the type of hemp extract I can possess?
Yes. Specifically, the hemp extract must be composed of less than nine-tenths of one percent (0.9%) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight, at least five percent (5%) cannabidiol (CBD) by weight and may contain no other psychoactive substances.

7. Can I produce my own hemp extract?
No. The law only allows for patients to use and possess the hemp extract meeting the specifications above (FAQ #6). It is illegal to cultivate or produce any hemp extract for the purpose of treating intractable epilepsy, or otherwise, in the state of North Carolina.

8. Does this medication cover any other ailments, disorders or illeness?
No. This legislation only covers possession and utilization of hemp extract to treat intractable epilepsy.

9. Who do I call for more information?
For further questions, please contact the Drug Control Unit at 984-236-5100.

10. As a law enforcement agent, who do I call to check on caregiver status?
The Drug Control Unit will be available to provide this information during office hours: Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. An online registry for extended verification hours is in development.
Please call 984-236-5100 to verify a caregiver. You will need to provide your name, title, department and badge number.

SB 168 – DHHS Revisions

* This bill was introduced as a PCS in the House Health Committee on June 24, 2020.

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Disability Definition

This bill aligns the developmental disability definition with federal law.

Co-Payment Schedule

This bill would allow the co-payment schedule for behavioral health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder services to be set without the rule making process.

Involuntary Commitment

This bill would clarify that clinical mental health counselors can perform first examinations for involuntary commitment.

Telehealth

This language would clarify that the use of telehealth to be used to conduct first and second involuntary commitment examinations during the COVID-19 emergency.

Brian Injury Advisory Council

This language would create the Brain Injury Advisory Council within DHHS in conjunction with other stakeholder groups.

Medical Examiners

This language would allow retired physicians previously licensed in NC, paramedics, death investigators, pathologists assistants and dentists to serve as medical examiners.

The bill also allows the chief medical examiner to appoint emergency medical examiners during states of emergency.

The bill clarifies that all information and records regarding a death investigation shall not become public records.

The bill does provide a licensed psychiatrist exemption.

This bill would allow hemp extract to be used to treat autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease or Mitochondiral disease. Current law only allows the extract to be used to treat epilepsy.

The bill also allows the patient to be under the care of a neurologist or has been examined and is under the care of a physician who has consulted with a neurologist about the patient’s condition. Current law only allows the patient to be under the care of a neurologist.

The bill defines a physician as an individual licensed, board certified, and affiliated with one or more hospitals licensed in the state.

The bill requires the documentation of the name, address, and hospital affiliation of any physician with whom the neurologist consults with about the patient’s condition in making the recommendation.

Filed – February 27, 2019

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This bill was was referred to the following Senate Committees:

  • Health Care – March 20, 2019
  • Judiciary – April 3, 2019
  • Rules – April 9, 2019

This bill will now move to the Senate floor

The Senate voted not to concur with this bill with a vote of 0-48 on June 25, 2020.