Filed Today: 2019 Compassionate Care Act

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Earlier today…South Carolina Senator Tom Davis filed a bill titled the “South Carolina Compassionate Care Act”, Senate Bill 366 (View the full bill here).  Representative Peter McCoy is projected to file the companion bill in the house this week. These bills would make legal the use of cannabis by patients in South Carolina. It would allow patients with certain specific medical conditions, subject to a physician’s authorization and supervision, and to legalize in this state, subject to regulation and oversight by DHEC and SLED, the cultivation, processing and dispensing of cannabis for such medical use. They have released the following statement:

“For the past several months, we have worked with law enforcement, health professionals, grassroots advocates, and other individuals and organizations to draft the most strictly regulated and tightly supervised medical-cannabis program in the country.  Poll after poll on this issue confirms what we consistently hear from our constituents – that the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians do want physicians to have the legal ability to authorize the use of cannabis by their patients if those physicians believe it would be of medicinal benefit, but that they do not want to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

Our objective in drafting this bill has been to provide for a medical-cannabis program that reflects South Carolinians’ views on the matter – that is, to draw a bright line between medical and recreational use.  We believe the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, a copy of which is attached, does that.  The summary of the act, also attached, breaks down in detail the safeguards put in place to ensure that a medical-cannabis program does not morph into a recreational one.  In developing these safeguards, we have looked at what has worked and what hasn’t in the 33 states that have already legalized cannabis for medical purposes.

We acknowledge that the medical-cannabis program we propose is much stricter than the others; that is intentional.  From the tightly defined list of qualifying medical conditions to the level of detail required in the written certifications by the authorizing physicians, from the prohibition against smoking cannabis to the imposition of felony penalties for the diversion of medical cannabis for recreational use, and from the mandatory use of seed-to-sale tracking systems to the testing of medical cannabis by independent testing laboratories, we believe the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act draws the bright line between medical and recreational use of cannabis that the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians want.”

Thousands of seriously ill South Carolinians and their families are depending on the General Assembly to enact compassionate medical cannabis legislation. The 2019 South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions and a doctor’s certification to access medical cannabis from regulated facilities. Prescription drugs often come with far more serious side effects than cannabis, and many patients simply do not respond to them. CSC.health is a grassroots non-profit made up of caregivers and patients throughout the state…and we have a voice. Together, we can convince our legislators that passing this bill is a moral imperative!

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