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Lawmakers Tout Medical Marijuana Bill

Jacob Redmond

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South Carolina lawmakers are preparing a major push to expand the legality of marijuana in the Palmetto State — for medical purposes, anyway.

S.C. Senator Tom Davis and State Representative Jenny Horne are preparing companion legislation that would "create a medical marijuana program for cultivation, product testing, quality and dispensing."

Good ... we approve. The "Republican-controlled" S.C. General Assembly should pass this legislation immediately — and governor Nikki Haley should sign it the moment it reaches her desk. Assuming, of course these GOP leaders wish to remain consistent with the stated ideals of their party.

"Lawmakers in South Carolina who claim to be serious about limited government, states' rights, sound fiscal policy, and individual liberty should support the bills Jenny Horne and I are filing to allow physicians to prescribe cannabis-related substances to their patients for medicinal purposes," Davis told FITS. " If a physician — after examining and consulting with a patient — believes a cannabis-related substance would be an effective medicine and relieve suffering, why in the world should the state be allowed to say otherwise? Decades ago conservative icons such as William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman made very strong cases in favor of such legalization, but the GOP rank-and-file have routinely rejected the idea of legalization."

Davis notes correctly, though, that things are now changing.

In addition to multiple states legalizing pot — including several for recreational purposes — the "Republican-controlled" Congress recently defunded the federal war on medical marijuana by blocking the use of Department of Justice funds to "prevent [medical marijuana states] from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana."

"That action by Congress is hardly surprising given the widespread support Americans have for legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes," Davis said.

Indeed, a recent poll from Third Way — a centrist think tank — revealed a whopping 78 percent of the country believes medical marijuana should be legal.

Davis and Horne's medical marijuana bill isn't the only pot-related legislation currently pending before the S.C. legislature. S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts — a former law enforcement officer — has filed a bill to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana.

"I never once had to fight a pothead," Pitts told WSPA TV 7 (CBS — Greenville/ Spartanburg, S.C.) last month. "I never once had to chase a pothead. They just did not create problems. The only problems they created were for themselves."

We support Pitts' bill, too — even as the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) fights them tooth and nail (neglecting its public safety obligations in the process).

Here's the thing, though ... legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and decriminalizing its possession (well, making it akin to a traffic ticket) doesn't address the fundamental problem. As long as government is still infringing upon the liberty of its citizens — not to mention wasting tax dollars on prohibition efforts and choking off a potentially vibrant economic engine — then our leaders' job is not done.

We commend Davis and Horne (and Pitts) for taking the first few steps toward a saner South Carolina drug policy ... but the basic anti-freedom, anti-free market construct remains in place.

And that's gotta change if the Palmetto State ever hopes to move forward as a free and prosperous people.


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Full Article: SC Lawmakers Tout Medical Marijuana Bill - FITSNews
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