Legislators in South Carolina continue to fight a battle to provide an alternative medical treatment to constituents, despite opposition that seems to be the majority in state government.
Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, has plans to introduce the Compassionate Care Act on Tuesday in the Senate, which while legalizing medical marijuana is reported to be the strictest legislation introduced in any state thus far.
The Compassionate Care Act does not permit smoking marijuana, even for medical treatment. It also has very strict guidelines suggested for the physicians that would prescribe marijuana and the illnesses that would be eligible for such a prescription. The operators of medical dispensaries in the state would also be required to follow a strict set of rules.
Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, has a similar measure he plans to introduce in the House this week. Both proposed pieces of legislation were created because current changes in legislative perspective make advocates hopeful that the legislation may move beyond committee, which is where previous marijuana legislation has gotten hung up.
The state House will also have other bills to consider regarding the matter. Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers, D-Spartansburg, is a cancer survivor and a staunch advocate for the medical marijuana legislation. Her views have been noted recently, as she announced a bill that she pre-filed regarding legalization of medical marijuana so doctors can consider that as a viable treatment option and prescribe it for patients that would benefit.
Sen. Greg Hembree stated last week that allowing medical marijuana use in the state seemed viable, provided the move is coupled with caution and a variety of testing procedures. The statement came after a Senate panel allowed a resolution to advance that is requesting further research on marijuana effectiveness and other potential medical uses by Congress.
The residents of South Carolina are behind the approval of medical marijuana, with a recent poll showing 80% support the idea of marijuana as medical treatment. However, Patrick Dennis, the general counsel for the South Carolina Medical Association, posits that state residents want a clearly outlined law with strict penalties for marijuana use outside the medical application.
He notes SC residents are “conservative” and are different than Colorado or California residents, as those states both legalized recreational use some time ago.