Medical Cannabis and South Carolina
Thousands of seriously ill South Carolinians and their families are depending on the General Assembly to enact compassionate medical cannabis legislation. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S 212/ H 3521) would create a state-regulated program that will allow patients with debilitating medical conditions and a doctor’s recommendation to access medical cannabis from state licensed facilities. It’s past time to stop criminalizing the seriously ill for relieving their symptoms with medical cannabis and to allow safe, reliable access to this beneficial treatment.
Cannabis’ Safety and Medical Value Has Been Proven
- On January 12, 2017, after reviewing more than 10,000 scientific abstracts, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report that found there is substantial or conclusive evidence that cannabis is beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain; it also found no link between smoking cannabis and lung cancer, no physiological ‘gateway’ effect, and no link between cannabis use and mortality, overdose deaths, or occupational accidents.
- Prescription drugs often come with far more serious side effects than cannabis does, and many patients simply do not respond to them. Administering cannabis with a smoke-free vaporizer or as a sublingual tincture is a much more effective delivery method than taking pills for many patients, especially those suffering from severe nausea.
- Cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine may be legally administered to patients. Why not cannabis, which has a far lower risk of dependency and does not cause fatal overdoses?
Twenty-Eight States Have Laws Protecting Patients
- Sixty-two percent of Americans live in one of the 28 states that allow the doctor-advised, medical use of cannabis.
- These laws are working well, enjoy strong popular support, and are protecting patients.
- Data have shown that concerns about these laws increasing youth cannabis use are unfounded: Teen cannabis use rates have remained stable or decreased in most states.
Broad support for medical cannabis
- 78% of South Carolina residents
(2016 Winthrop Poll, The State)
- 69% of police officers support legalization of medical cannabis (Pew Survey, January 11,2017)
- American Nurses Association
- American Public Health Association
- Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- American Academy of HIV Medicine
- 76% of doctors would approve medical cannabis (New England Journal of Medicine)
Federal Law Does Not Stand In the Way
- The decision to classify cannabis as a Schedule I drug was a political decision by Congress. Nothing prohibits states from having penalties that differ from federal law.
- For the past two and a half years, Congress has included a rider to the Department of Justice funding bill to prevent it from intervening in medical cannabis states.
- A federal appellate court ruled that the federal government cannot punish — or even investigate — physicians recommending the medical use of cannabis to patients.