Patients and advocates from across South Carolina are pushing lawmakers to hear medical cannabis legislation.
Dozens gathered Tuesday at the East Grounds/Gardens of the State House in support of H. 3521, the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act. Supporters want to ensure the bill will be taken up by the legislature this year.
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Rep. Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. According to the bill, the Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories. The department would also issue registration cards to qualifying patients and their caregivers.
“Disabled South Carolinians like myself struggle with daily activities most people take for granted,” said Mack Hudson, a paraplegic who suffers from chronic pain following a spinal cord injury. “I and those like me shouldn’t have to wait another year for this compassionate legislation. While I have no problem getting prescriptions for harmful opioid pain pills, I want a less harmful and less additive alternative. I shouldn’t have to travel across the country to some place like Colorado, just to get the medicine that works best for me.”
The bill has not been scheduled for a hearing in the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee. The Senate version of the bill, S. 212, has been scheduled for a subcommittee hearing on Wednesday morning.
According to an October 2016 Winthrop Poll, 78% of South Carolina residents approve of making cannabis legal for medical purposes.