“Divorced from Reality” – Fighting Against Medical Marijuana in South Carolina

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“Divorced from Reality” was the expression used by Senator Tom Davis, a Beaufort Republican and sponsor of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act S366. He was describing today’s press conference orchestrated by SC Attorney Gen. Wilson, South Carolina Medical Association, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association. Indeed, the rhetoric was surreal.

Calling marijuana, the most dangerous drug in America shows how little they know about cannabis. It simply isn’t true, and few people in the US would agree with this sort of reefer madness claim. It might have worked in 1937, but it’s nothing short of bizarre thing to hear in 2018.

The medical association only represents a small fraction of the doctors in the state – about 1/3. Compare that to the 76% of doctors who support access, according to a New England Journal of Medicine survey of doctors in 2013, or a WebMD survey in 2014 that showed 70% support among doctors. We question how representative they really are when it come to this important issue.

The claim that “this bill basically decriminalizes marijuana” shows they don’t know how medical cannabis programs work generally, or what this measure would do specifically. This bill would create a highly regulated program that requires doctors to visit with patients and recommend that it be used. By contrast, decriminalization removes penalties for anyone who consumes regardless of their medical condition – which is not the case here at all.

Some in SC are afraid of recreational marijuana legalization for adults, and they are willing to leave patients behind because of it. In addition to overlooking very real and serious medical conditions many face, this shows they don’t understand the legislative process – lawmakers would have to adopt full legalization for it to happen in South Carolina.

You would think that with the very serious epidemic of opioid abuse in our midst, the medical association and law enforcement would have more urgent matters than to fight history.

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