Medical Professionals to Testify in Favor of Medical Cannabis Legalization at South Carolina Senate Hearing

At 2pm ET tomorrow, a group of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, and other healthcare professionals will hold a news conference prior to testifying in favor of Senate Bill 212 to legalize medical cannabis.

A group of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, and other healthcare professionals will testify in favor of comprehensive medical cannabis legislation Wednesday during a South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee hearing. They will join leaders of Compassionate South Carolina for a pre-hearing news conference at 2 p.m. ET outside the L. Marion Gressette State Office Building.

Senate Bill 212, sponsored by Senator Tom Davis (R), would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The subcommittee hearing on the bill is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET in Room 308.

“There is a large and rapidly growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of medical cannabis,” says Dr. Sue Sisley, an Arizona-based physician and nationally renowned medical cannabis researcher who traveled to Columbia to provide expert testimony at Wednesday’s hearing. “It is often a much safer option than traditional prescription medications, especially when it comes to treating chronic pain. Patients who could benefit from medical cannabis should be able to access it safely and legally with the guidance of their physicians.”

Other medical professionals who plan to participate in the news conference and testify in support of S. 212 include University of South Carolina Vice President for Research Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti; Lexington-based rehabilitation counselor and American Academy of Pain Management Fellow Cynthia Grimley; Columbia-based physician and addiction specialist Dr. Stephen Merlin; Anderson-based physician Dr. William Griffith; Susan Watson-Neimy, a registered nurse whose daughter is a Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient attending the College of Charleston; Manning-based hospice registered nurse Judy Frates; and pharmacist Anthony Chase of Daufuskie Island, who has operated several hospice facilities.

“Chemotherapy is saving my daughter’s life, but it is brutal on her body and leaves her with extreme nausea, lethargy, and discomfort,” Watson-Neimy said. “The medication she has been prescribed to reduce these side effects is addictive and makes her feel completely ‘drugged out.’ Substituting cannabis has made her treatments far more tolerable and allowed her to reclaim her life and return to school. As a medical professional and as my daughter’s caregiver, I implore the Legislature to adopt comprehensive medical cannabis legislation this year.”

More than three out of four South Carolina residents (78%) think cannabis should be made legal for medical use, according to a September 2016 Winthrop Poll commissioned by The State. Only one in six South Carolinians (16%) think it should remain illegal.


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