In South Carolina, some lawmakers are aggressively trying to push through medical marijuana legislation. Others though, are just not having it. As the five-month legislative session comes to a close, the moves made towards embracing the cannabis industry in the Palmetto State are effectively dead once again. The only real good news is that while last year only 20 farmers were allowed to grow experimental hemp crops, now the law has opened up to allow anyone to become a hemp farmer.
“I am very disappointed that the people of South Carolina have been denied the choice of using medical marijuana instead of dangerous opioids to cope with intense pain while under the supervision of their healthcare provider,” says Attorney Dayne Phillips of Price Benowitz. “At a minimum, it is time for South Carolina to make marijuana legal for medical treatment. This is the only way that some critically ill people are going to get the help and pain management they need, and it’s a shame they are denied that opportunity. It is also the only way we are going to stop good, innocent people from being arrested for something no longer considered illegal around much of the country.”
South Carolina, though, is not there yet. Last year, the Compassionate Care Act was introduced into the General Assembly where it was passed and advanced on to the House. This act would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses, such as epilepsy or post-traumatic stress disorder. With a dispensary in every county, the act would allow those that need medical marijuana to buy up to two ounces every two weeks.
It was frustrating when the bill did not pass through either the House or the Senate during last year’s session. For state senator Tom Davis and S.C. House judiciary chairman Peter McCoy, two champions of the bill, seeing it fall flat once again before being debated in either the House or the Senate this year is tremendously disappointing.
However, while any bills to legalize marijuana in any form throughout South Carolina may be dead for now, there is always hope for next year. The progress the bill made during this year’s legislative session will be preserved until 2020. That is when the new legislative session will begin and lawmakers can once again pick up the bill that has become so important over the last two years. Hopefully next time, both chambers will have the chance to debate it and put some type of legislation on the books.