With many states legalizing medical marijuana, Benzinga states that various other states are looking to follow suit come 2021. Benzinga said that others may also look to reform existing marijuana laws, with South Carolina being part of that list.
The possibility of legalizing medical marijuana in South Carolina comes as Republican lawmakers have prefiled a legislation to allow MMJ, reveals Marijuana Moment. The decision of these lawmakers stems from the desire to provide patients with access to the drug.
Representative Bill Herbkersman took the lead on the bill. The initiative of Rep. Herbkersman was a show of support for his brother, who Benzinga states used the drug to treat symptoms related to cancer.
In a statement, the lead sponsor said, “It is unacceptable that South Carolinians with serious illnesses have to break the law to alleviate their suffering.”
“My brother deserved better. Our friends, family, and neighbors deserve the same options to medicine that are afforded to Americans in 36 other states. Waiting any longer will only add to the suffering that is experienced by those who are plagued with debilitating illnesses,” continued Rep. Herbkersman.
The bill, called as The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, has been filed in two versions last Wednesday, December 9, 2020. It comes with a House bill care of Herbkersman filed under H. 3361, while the Senate bill is filed under S. 150 with Senator Tom Davis as the lead sponsor of the bill.
According to WSPA 7 News, Sen. Davis has been lobbying for the legalization of cannabis since 2014. He reportedly believes that there is a good chance it could be approved in 2021. The session will resume by mid-January.
Both of the bills mainly call for the same access to the drug in dispensaries, particularly for patients with qualifying conditions. Moreover, both of these bills have also prohibited the growing of flowers or the drug at home.
Marijuana Moment says that the Senate bill is somewhat stricter, calling for the smoking of the drug illegal. Under the Senate bill, only processed oils, topical applications, and edibles would be made available to licensed patients.
In the same way, the bill also calls for patients to only have up to 8.2 grams in concentrates and four grams of topicals within a 14-day period. This, however, could be adjusted accordingly on a case-to-case basis.
The House bill, on the other hand, is less restrictive. Unlike the Senate version, this allows the use of the cannabis flower for smoking or other smoking-related use. Smoking paraphernalia and accessories would also be allowed. Patients may also get up to two ounces of dried cannabis, edibles, or topicals within the 14-day period.
Of the bill, Sen. Davis said that he is confident as he has a majority of both state Senators and House members alike who are in full support of the bill, reports WSPA 7 News.
Likewise, Sen. Davis said that he “feel[s] there is a very good chance we get something passed this session. This bill has been fully vetted after five years of testimony and input by various stakeholders. The time has come for lawmakers to get out of the way and allow patients, in consultation with their physicians, to legally and safely access medicinal cannabis.”
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act is just one of the many bills that have been prefiled. It is joined by another medical marijuana bill called The Put Patients First Act and another that would allow veterans to obtain cannabis.