Compassionate Care Act (H3521) Heading to the House Floor
The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (3M) Committee overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana bill on Thursday in a vote of 14-3, sending it to the full House for consideration! The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, known as H 3521 in the House, would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana to treat their conditions with a recommendation from their doctors. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories.
The legislature’s crossover deadline has already passed, which means the bills probably won’t move further this year. While it is possible lawmakers could still vote on the floor of either the House or Senate, it is increasingly unlikely. With the crossover deadline passing, even a majority “yes” vote won’t advance the bill to the other chamber. And with only seven days remaining for lawmakers in session this year, time is very short. But this vote, combined with approval by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on March 29, builds momentum for full passage next year.
“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,” said Janel Ralph, executive director of Compassionate South Carolina, whose eight-year-old daughter has a rare seizure disorder. “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.”
There are currently 29 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, with effective medical marijuana laws on the books. The movement of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act this session is placing us on the fast track for next year. We want our state added to this list sooner rather than later!
A summary of H3521 can be found here: