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First SC Medical Marijuana Showdown Looms

Legalization likely to clear its first legislative hurdle …

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After months of posturing, polling and public discussion, the issue of medical marijuana legalization is about to have its first legislative hearing of the year at the South Carolina State House.

A bill introduced by state senator Tom Davis – S. 366 – will be taken up by a S.C. Senate medical affairs subcommittee this Wednesday (February 27) at 10:00 a.m. EST.  For those of you interested in attending this hearing, it will be held in room 105 of the Gressette office building on the grounds of the S.C. State House.

Subcommittee hearings typically represent the first major hurdle for any piece of legislation.  Assuming a bill is reported favorably out of a subcommittee, it would next be heard at the full committee level – and then on the floor of the Senate itself.

Will this controversial bill clear its first hurdle?  Yes.

Not only is Davis the chairman of this particular subcommittee, but sources close to its deliberations tell us a majority of subcommittee members intend to advance the legislation to the full medical affairs committee, which is chaired by Republican senator Danny Verdin.

Multiple opponents of legalizing medical marijuana – who appear to be swimming increasingly upstream on this issue in the court of public opinion – tell us they are privately conceding the outcome of the subcommittee’s deliberations, but will contest the legislation nonetheless.

Stay tuned …

This news outlet has consistently supported legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes.  As far as we are concerned it is a liberty issue – although we have acknowledged the necessary limits of such a policy.

Of course, we believe Davis’ bill – which he has branded as the “the most socially conservative medical marijuana bill in the country” – is far too narrowly drawn and includes far too much in the way of government oversight.  Frankly, we believe the draconian restrictions it would impose highlight the need to move forward with an honest debate on the issue of recreational legalization.

In in the interim, though, we support passage of the bill and would encourage members of this Senate subcommittee to advance it to the next step in the legislative process.

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