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Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in South Carolina

David Bowman

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In 2014, the South Carolina legislature passed S 1035/H 4803, also known as "Julian's Law." The law creates an exemption for the possession and use of CBD from the criminal definition of marijuana in limited circumstances. Only patients with severe forms of seizure disorders are eligible for legal protections after the patient obtains a recommendation for CBD oil from a physician. The law requires that the CBD oil be at least 15% CBD and no more than 0.9 % THC. The law also creates the ability for physicians to apply to take part in a statewide medical study of CBD oil for other conditions; however, the CBD oil for these studies must be at least 98% CBD and must come from a USDA-approved source.

What's Legal
A patient must be diagnosed with uncontrollable epilepsy which is not adequately treated by traditional medical therapies. Qualifying patients are protected from arrest, prosecution, civil penalties and discrimination for use and possession of cannabis that contains at least 98% cannabidiol (CBD) and no more than 0.9% tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). There is no requirement for state registration and the law is largely silent on cultivation and distribution of cannabis.

Eligible Conditions
Any severe form of epilepsy that is not adequately treated by traditional medical therapies is eligible. No other conditions aside from severe epilepsy are eligible.

Application Process
There is no formal patient registration set forth by the law; however, patients must be enrolled in an authorized clinical research program in order to obtain legal protections and access to CBD medicine.

Physicians must be licensed to practice medicine by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners who practice in an academic medical center in this State and treat patients with severe forms of epilepsy. They must also be serving as either lead or sublead investigator working on a clinical research study to treat severe forms of epilepsy.

While designated caregivers are defined in the law, no legal protections are afforded to caregivers. The law does not create a production or distribution system, but does create a study commission to examine how to create a cultivation and sales system in the state. The law does remove criminal penalties for patients and their parents for the possession CBD oil that has at least 10% CBD and no more than 0.9% THC.

The law does not impose restrictions on where patients may use their medicine.

Age Limits
The are no age limits on patients.

While there are no explicit privacy protections, there is no patient registry under the law.

The law does not provide housing discrimination protection for patients.

The law does not provide employment discrimination protection for patients.

Insurance companies are not required to pay for CBD oil therapy in South Carolina.

Out of State Patients
The law does not provide legal protections for out of state patients.

Source: ASA: Becoming a Patient in South Carolina
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