Cannabis Rights

Home for the Holidays?

Are you going home for the holidays?  It’s the day before Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.  There is a festive feeling that fills the air as many of us prepare to visit friends and family over the next few weeks.  The shopping.  The baking.  The eating! Being reunited with a family who has traveled to be together for the holidays is a tradition as old as, well….holidays themselves.  Families, no matter how odd or dysfunctional, are the core of our being.  Regardless of family dynamics, they ground us and make us feel a grand sense of belonging.  But, for all of the thousands upon thousands of people who will soon be traveling to spend time with their family and friends over the holidays, there is an increasing population of individuals who are prohibited from doing so.  

Medical Cannabis Patients

There are currently over two million registered medical cannabis patients in the United States.  That number is expected to rapidly increase as newer programs such as Ohio and Oklahoma are coming online.  In addition, voters in Utah and Missouri recently passed medical cannabis laws through ballot referendums.  This means that an expanding portion of our nation’s population is unable to enjoy the simple freedom of traveling outside of the state in which they currently live.  The patchwork of state laws, coupled with conflicts between state and federal laws, makes things complicated.  This is due to the Federal status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug.  Because of that scheduling, patients in one state cannot legally travel to another state with their medication without the risk of becoming federal criminals.  Crossing state lines with cannabis is considered drug trafficking. 

Not Coming Home

I recently heard from a medical cannabis patient who is from Charleston but currently lives in Florida.  He is just one example of a medical cannabis patient who will not be coming home for the holidays this year.   In fact, he was my inspiration for writing this post.  Here is what he wrote:

I wonder how much both South Carolina and Georgia lose in tourism dollars by not allowing medical marijuana.  I am a medical patient in Florida, but I’m from Charleston.  I can’t visit family, friends or places I have such fond memories of.  I can’t go to JB’s Smoke Shack on John’s Island for the best fried chicken on Earth.  No Bessinger’s BBQ.  I could not go to my Great Uncle’s funeral.  I’ll have to miss Thanksgiving, again.  It’s almost like I am a Prisoner in Florida.  I don’t do pain management with opioids anymore, but that’s what CAN go across state lines.  Money to be spent on a trip home just stays in Florida.  Florida gives me the freedom to choose my medicine.  Makes me sad I can’t go home.

Rob Cohen

Patients should be treated as patients, not criminals.  They should enjoy the same rights that all patients enjoy, maybe even more.  A person suffering from a debilitating medical condition needs the love and support of his or her family.  We all have many things for which we are thankful.  I will be thankful for the day that medical cannabis is a safe, viable option to patients across the country, without limitations. 

The SC Compassionate Care Act has a reciprocity clause that would allow registered patients like Rob, and so many others, to be protected under the law so that they could come home for the holidays.

Please support our efforts by contacting your elected officials and letting them know that medical marijuana IS an important issue for South Carolina:

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