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SC Lawmakers Pre-file Medical Cannabis Bills

South Carolina Lawmakers Pre-file Medical Cannabis Bills Ahead of 2021 Legislative Session

Statements below from bill sponsors and medical cannabis advocates

Columbia, S.C. — On Wednesday evening, South Carolina lawmakers pre-filed bills to legalize medical cannabis in the state. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act was introduced by long-time medical cannabis advocate Sen. Tom Davis (R) in the Senate and Rep. Bill Herbkersman (R) in the House.

This is the first time Rep. Herbkersman has served as the lead sponsor in the House. The previous House sponsor, Rep. Peter McCoy, was appointed U.S Attorney. Rep. Herbkersman cited his late brother’s experience finding relief from medical cannabis as he was stricken with cancer as a motivation for sponsoring the bill.

The bills would create a comprehensive, well regulated medical cannabis program to allow patients with serious medical conditions and illnesses to safely access and use medicinal cannabis when recommended by their physician. While both bills are similar, the House bill is considered less restrictive as it would allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for patients with any debilitating medical condition and allow for more modes of administration. A summary of the House bill, H. 3361, can be found here, and a summary of the Senate bill, S. 150, can be found here.

Thirty-six states — including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi — have legalized cannabis for medical use.

South Carolinians overwhelmingly support allowing cannabis for medicinal use. According to a 2018 Benchmark Research poll, 72% of South Carolinians favor medical cannabis legalization, including 63% of Republicans.

Statement from Sen. Tom Davis (R), a long-time sponsor of medical cannabis legalization bills:
“I feel 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 from various stakeholders. The time has come for lawmakers to get out of the way and allow patients, in consultation with their physician, to legally and safely access medicinal cannabis.”

Statement from Rep. Bill Herbkersman (R):
“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. Passing this legislation is long overdue.”

Statement from Margaret Richardson of Hilton Head who suffers from trigeminal neuralgia; her husband, Scott Richardson, is a former state senator and ex-director of the S.C. Department of Insurance:
“I am speaking not only for myself but all South Carolinians who suffer from devastating medical conditions. We should have the choice to use medical cannabis and not suffer through the horrible side effects of taking opioids. Unless you have had a family member or close friend experience this level of excruciating pain, it’s hard to understand the personal devastation. Passing this legislation will give us … your constituents, friends and neighbors, many of whom are suffering in silence…a chance to live our lives with dignity.”

Statement from Dr. Bill Griffith, MD, of Anderson: 
“Research has made it evident that the health benefits of medical cannabis use outweigh the potential risks. South Carolinians deserve the ability to safely and legally use a substance that has been proven to be effective in treating a variety of medical conditions and poses fewer negative side effects than many prescription drugs, especially opioids, which continue to claim many lives.

“The illegality of medical cannabis in our state is forcing many patients to rely on the dangerous underground market to access their medicine. Passing this legislation would ensure that patients have safe, tested, and reliable access to medical cannabis.”

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The South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance is a statewide coalition of patients, families, and advocates working to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in South Carolina. For more information, visit https://www.SCCompassion.com.

5 replies on “SC Lawmakers Pre-file Medical Cannabis Bills”

I have been begging to have this bill passed for 2 years. I suffer from mixed connective joint and tissue disease, and after searching for a medical cure (none), and finally agreeing to take tramadol. I rely on this medication and now the Feds have reclassified it so that a single practitioner like my rheumatologist, has to stop writing prescriptions for it this coming year. Back to where I started, now looking for a pain management MD to go back to the beginning with me, an expensive journey, and hopefully can prescribe tramadol again, which is not a cure, nor a total answer, but does give me partial relief. I have spoken to others from other states who are able to use medical marijuana and they give it high marks for pain relief without the side effects of standard meds which have now been classified as opiates. At the age of 81 I am embarassed to think our son and our grands will think their Sunshine is a druggie. Please help.

The time has come for this to happen. Theres enough evidence of the many benefits of cannabis. And the idea of a plant being made illegal is just silly. Especially when it had been a common house hold item.
Additionally with the Covid virus putting the kibosh on travel our state can use the tax revenue as a filler for the hole left in the states coffers because of poor tourism numbers this past year.
Its a win-win for the state despite what state police chief Mike Kegel might think or say.
Gov McMaster needs to do the right thing and make this law if it get thru the state congress.

[…] “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.” – Herbkersman in a statement via South Carolina Compassionate Care […]

[…] “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.” – Herbkersman in a statement via South Carolina Compassionate Care […]

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