South Carolina’s House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee overwhelmingly approved a medical cannabis legalization bill on Thursday.
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (House Bill 3521), was passed by the committee in a 14 to 3 vote. The bill would allow those with certain medical conditions who receive a doctor recommendation to use medical cannabis and cannabis products. A companion measure in the Senate was passed through the Senate Medical Affairs Committee late last month.
“The diligent work of patients, advocates, and supportive lawmakers is paying off, and South Carolinians are closer to finding relief with medical cannabis than ever before,” says Janel Ralph, executive director of Compassionate South Carolina, which has been working to legalize medical cannabis in the state for years. “This issue needs to stay at the forefront of the legislature’s attention, and we will continue working to educate them about the need for a compassionate medical cannabis program in our state. Patients will continue to suffer until this bill is passed and implemented. We commend lawmakers for allowing the Compassionate Care Act to progress this far, and urge them not to delay taking it up when the next session begins.”
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Senator Tom Davis and Representative Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories. Qualifying conditions would include cancer, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, HIV, autism, Hepatitis C, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and any condition causing debilitating pain, severe nausea, and seizures.
According to a statewide Winthrop Poll, 78% of South Carolina adults support legalizing medical cannabis.
According to an October 2016 Winthrop Poll, 78% of South Carolina residents approve of making cannabis legal for medical purposes.