Patient Support Moves S212 Forward by Kim Fogle

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Count yourself lucky if you or a family member have never been dealt the blow of a life-changing diagnosis or have lived with a disease that is painful and debilitating.

I have lived in South Carolina all my life, and I don’t personally know anyone who’s been so fortunate.

Though most of us know what it’s like to be sick or help a loved one navigate treatment options and a far-from-perfect health care system, very few of us have put much thought into what changes need to be made and how we can personally affect the choices that South Carolinians have for their care.

NOW is the time. We have banded together to help facilitate change in SC’s healthcare options and hope to join 29 other states in offering more for our residents. The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee amended and approved a medical marijuana bill on Wednesday, sending it to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee for consideration.

I’m talking about the Compassionate Care Act and medical marijuana. For some people, at first blush, that may be a scary thing. The word “marijuana” may conjure up images of smoky basements, college parties, and Cheech and Chong.  But medical marijuana is no joke. For some, it is literally a question of life and death — by preventing seizures, allowing cancer patients to keep weight on, allowing PTSD patients to go on despite trauma, and providing a safer option than opiates.

Study after study has confirmed what over five thousand years of use has taught us: that cannabis is an effective treatment for pain, nausea, and debilitating diseases and conditions.  Opioid-related deaths are down 33% in states with medical marijuana programs that have been in place for at least five years, and there are new findings that prove that cannabis is effective in treating such addiction with less negative side-effects.

The sponsors and supporters of the Compassionate Care Act are passionate about bringing needed change to our health care system and working with stakeholders like law enforcement and legislators to ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed. To that end, several amendments to the original act are being put forth to end the political gridlock and move this bill forward in our legislature.  Changes incorporated in the measure include more specific requirements for physicians, along with the greater involvement of law enforcement in oversight of those licensed to conduct business in the program. And medical marijuana could not be smoked. Under the amended bill, South Carolina would have one of the most carefully regulated programs in the country.

A summary of the amendments is available at this link.

It’s time for SC to stop being “last.” We have the opportunity NOW! Let’s don’t allow politics to deny us this healthcare option that is available to so many of our fellow Americans.  Please also view our Facebook Page or join our closed group for South Carolina residents only.


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