NC panel OKs topless bill, squashes medicinal pot - FOX Carolina 21

NC panel OKs topless bill, squashes medicinal pot

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Several marijuana plants are displayed during a press conference in Greenville, SC. (File/FOX Carolina) Several marijuana plants are displayed during a press conference in Greenville, SC. (File/FOX Carolina)
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -

A North Carolina House panel has approved a bill treating topless women as indecent, but squashed a bill legalizing medical marijuana.

One of the measures approved by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday was a response to topless rallies held the past two years in downtown Asheville. City leaders said they couldn't pass an ordinance against the activity because the state's indecent exposure law was ambiguous.

The bill adds language from a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling in which "private parts" include the female breast. Breaking the indecent exposure law remains a lower-grade misdemeanor. It's a felony if done for satisfying sexual desires.

Breastfeeding women would continue to be exempt and local governments still can regulate sexually oriented businesses.

A vote by the entire state House could come next week.

On the second measure, the House Rules Committee voted Wednesday to give an unusual "unfavorable report" to the measure after brief debate and public comment. The decision means this bill and the issue are likely dead at the General Assembly through 2014.

The bill would have provided immunity from state prosecution for patients with debilitating conditions and caregivers for having the drug. Certain medical marijuana sales would have been taxed.

Catherine Lyles of Raleigh is a brain tumor survivor who spoke to the committee. She said later that using marijuana had relieved her nausea from other drugs she had received to fight her illness.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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