State House

Poll: 83 Percent Of South Carolinians Back Medical Marijuana

Support consistent across geographic, gender, age, racial and partisan divides …

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A recent survey of registered South Carolina voters found an overwhelming majority of them – 83 percent – support providing medical marijuana to patients with serious medical conditions if their doctor recommends it.

Support for medical marijuana was consistent across geographic, gender, age, racial and partisan divides – with overwhelming majorities of each subset of the electorate backing the idea of decriminalizing the drug for medical purposes.

Of particular interest? Nearly three-quarters of Republican voters – 74 percent – support medical marijuana, compared to only 16 percent who oppose it. Meanwhile, nearly four out of five voters over the age of fifty – 79 percent – support it, compared to only 13 percent who oppose it.

Take a look at these numbers …

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(Mason-Dixon)

Such widespread, cross-demographic support is excellent news for sponsors of medical marijuana legislation (S. 423) – which cleared the S.C. Senate but has yet to receive a hearing this year in the S.C. House of Representatives. Dubbed the “Compassionate Care Act,” the legislation would create a heavily regulated medical marijuana program in which pharmacists would oversee the distribution of cannabis-based treatments to select patients based upon the recommendation of their physicians.

South Carolina is already behind the curve on this issue. Thirty-eight other states have already decriminalized marijuana for medical use, putting Palmetto State residents suffering from a variety of conditions at a decided disadvantage.

As I noted earlier this year, tens of thousands of South Carolinians dealing with conditions such as epilepsy, neurological disorders, chronic pain, PTSD, intense nausea and other side effects accompanying chemotherapy have waited more than a decade for this bill to become law. Those of us watching the state’s opioid epidemic continue to claim lives are also eager to see an alternative to these dangerous, highly addictive pain management “medications.”

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“Medical freedom — the primacy of the physician-patient relationship — is something legislators like to say they champion, so let’s empower physicians who think cannabis can be therapeutic for their patients,” state senator Tom Davis told me this week. “Politicians and bureaucrats should not be telling physicians and patients what to do.”

Davis has led South Carolina’s battle to legalize medical marijuana for the better part of the past decade. He has been hailed by supporters and opponents alike for his statesmanship in advancing the “Compassionate Care Act,” which nearly became law two years ago.

According to Davis, his bill is a “template for any state that truly simply wants to empower doctors and empower patients and doesn’t want to go down the slippery slope (toward recreational use).”

The latest iteration of Davis’ bill is receiving growing institutional support.

“It’s time for South Carolina to allow innovation, industry, and research to thrive in a properly regulated medical marijuana market,” said Candace Carroll, South Carolina state director for Americans for Prosperity.

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Where should you invest your political capital? Our Palmetto Political Stock Index has got you covered!

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Carroll’s group has been pushing for multiple market-based health care reforms in the Palmetto State in recent years and wields extensive influence at the State House and on the campaign trial across South Carolina.

“A majority of South Carolinians support such a policy change and 38 other states have already adopted similar policies without negative repercussions for road safety, violent crime, property crime, and youth marijuana use,” Carroll noted, citing a recent Wisconsin study. “The Compassionate Care Act is a safe, measured way to allow access to new treatments.”

Carroll added the S.C. House has also “prioritized empowering the patient-physician relationship with other pieces of legislation … and this piece of legislation is no different.”

“It simply allows doctors to access all the tools available to help their patients live full and successful lives,” she said.

My media outlet has been on board with medical marijuana ever since Davis first began promoting it. Back in 2016, I referred to the passage of the legislation as a “moral imperative.” Meanwhile, two years ago I ripped House leaders who killed the last version of the bill with procedural gimmicks as “cowards.”

The medical marijuana survey was conducted between March 6-11, 2024 by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy. A total of 625 South Carolina registered voters were interviewed via telephone, with a plus or minus four percentage point margin of error.

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THE POLL …

(Mason-Dixon)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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