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Medical Marijuana: South Carolina House Is Out Of Excuses

It’s time for the Palmetto State’s lower chamber to get moving on the ‘Compassionate Care Act …’

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Two years ago, so-called “Republicans” in the South Carolina House of Representatives made use of procedural gimmickry to kill a medical cannabis bill which had just been overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate. This year, House leaders are trying to run out the clock on the legislation … which once again cleared the Senate by a compelling margin.

What gives?

Despite South Carolina already being years behind the curve on this issue, House leaders waited more than two months to schedule a hearing on S. 423 – the “Compassionate Care Act.” Their delay was not lost on longtime medical cannabis backer Tom Davis, who took to X to share his displeasure.

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Davis has every reason to be frustrated – as do the tens of thousands of South Carolinians who have been waiting decades to have access to medical cannabis. As I noted earlier this month, 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 previously reported, there is monolithic public support for the idea – with overwhelming majorities embracing it irrespective of geographic, gender, age, racial and partisan differences. All told, a whopping 83 percent of registered voters in South Carolina – including 74 percent of GOP voters – support providing medical marijuana to patients with serious medical conditions if their doctor recommends it.

Sadly, House “Republicans” continue dragging their feet on the issue.

At this week’s meeting of the House medical, military, public and municipal affairs (3M) committee – called by chairwoman Sylleste Davis – no action was taken on the Compassionate Care Act despite the lengthy delay in brining the bill up for a hearing. The panel also declined to open the floor for public testimony, choosing instead to handpick who its members heard from on the issue – beginning with certain law enforcement leaders who have been vocal in their opposition to medical marijuana decriminalization.

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S.C. senator Tom Davis during a Senate Finance Committee meeting in Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Travis Bell/STATEHOUSE CAROLINA)

In an effort to allay law enforcement concerns, Davis’ 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.

Davis has described the legislation as a “conservative template for states that want to empower doctors, that want to help patients but also want to draw a bright line against recreational use.”

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 would be able to access medically prescribed cannabis treatments under the new law.

Also, those of us watching as the state’s opioid epidemic continues to claim lives are also eager to see alternatives to these dangerous, highly addictive pain management “medications.”

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For the past ten years, no one has pushed harder than Davis to see this bill become law. During that process, he has been hailed by supporters and opponents alike for his statesmanship, his willingness to negotiate in good faith … and his patience.

Clearly, though, Davis’ patience – like the patience of so many who have stood alongside him in this battle – is growing thinner the longer House leaders continue to play games with people’s lives. Those leaders – including speaker Murrell Smith and “majority” leader Davey Hiott – have officially run out of excuses.

Meanwhile, those who need the relief provided by this bill are – once again – running out of time.

This media outlet’s position on Davis’ bill is no secret. Back in 2016, I referred to its passage as a “moral imperative.” And two years ago, I ripped House leaders (including Sylleste Davis) who killed the last version of the bill with procedural gimmicks as “cowards.”

Sadly, that cowardice continues …

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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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8 comments

Leopards Eating Faces Party Official April 25, 2024 at 4:41 pm

SC has a long history of being dragged kicking and screaming into the modern day.

That being said, it’s just classic GOP mandating what you’re allowed to put into your body. They can’t even begrudgingly allow you to take it for medicinal purposes, not just at the state level, but the federal level too. We know who digs their heels into the ground in every instance where these measures get proposed.

This is the kind of stuff you should expect from people who will lower taxes for the rich and not for the workers. Rich people don’t have to worry about access to drugs or any serious prosecution for possession or abuse of them. Legalization is for the poors.

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Terminator44 Top fan April 26, 2024 at 3:43 pm

The LAST thing this State needs is more impaired idiots behind the wheel. I find it laughable when people say they need to get high for “medicinal” purposes. That is ABSOLUTE nonsense. Morons want to get high because, well, they are morons. Look at all of the statistics for any state that has passed “medicinal” marijuana legislation. In every state that has done so, instances of impaired driving have gone through the roof. According to Forbes, SC ranks number 8 out of the top 10 states for DUI fatalities. An absolute terrible statistic in which to be number 8.

Our House is absolutely right to NEVER pass this moronic piece of legislation. If Tom Davis wants to get high, move to Colorado!!

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MemoryQueen Top fan April 29, 2024 at 8:36 am

It may be advantageous to educate yourself on what ‘medicinal’ purposes limits the drug use to. My son, who is non-verbal, has a brain covered with tumors and suffered from fits of epilepsy, and is wheelchair bound actually takes this drug in liquid form through a GI tube and has had a reduction of seizures and benefited from a more relaxed state of mind. It is a travesty that so many people in similar situations have to suffer because of truly uneducated ‘idiots’ making ‘moronic’ statements that clearly, almost in blinding fashion, show your only concern is about yourself. Your worry about the drivers on the road…how intelligent you sound! These aren’t people who’ve scraped their knee and tun to the dr for a script you dumbass. These aren’t people well enough to even think about driving. And it’s morons like you, who lack the capacity and compassion for someone you can’t relate to, someone less fortunate and suffering. I pray your family is never striken by a medical undoing and pray even more if it is, that YOU aren’t their over their medical affairs.

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MemoryQueen Top fan April 29, 2024 at 9:29 am

Just to be clear on your argument against passing the Bill…our state’s already statically high rate of DUIs should be a consideration for NOT passing a Bill to help terminally ill and those with epilepsy, who LEGALLY are restricted from operating a vehicle? Hmmm. That logic is incredibly flawed and misguided. Medicinal Marijuana is for the sick, hence the name. It would be prescribed by a physician, not a bar tender, liquor store or some street thug cooking up drugs. And if our state is already so high, how do you derive at the conclusion MEDICINAL MARIJUANA (pharmacy grade, no added unknowns with the THC levels controlled) would increase this rate further? Try to look at its benefits. People prescribed this medication can have a better quality of life. The Bill is NOT for RECREATIONAL USE. That’s what other states have done. We are discussing MEDICINAL MARIJUANA! My apologies for my previous reply in tone. Hopefully, you will consider the anger and hurt that some of us with special needs loved ones and truly sick people are fighting for.

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River Top fan April 27, 2024 at 5:20 pm

Imagine explaining to Jesus how you used your position as a Senator to help more people get high. How about let’s put our focus on legislation that doesn’t involve getting high.

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MemoryQueen Top fan April 29, 2024 at 8:48 am

I’m sure JESUS is more concerned about what the PEOPLE IN POWER are doing to HELP those SICK AND SUFFERING from epilepsy and cancer and other conditions for which conventional treatments have not helped than passing anything else you personally think is more pressing. Read the Bill or better yet the Bible.

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MemoryQueen Top fan April 29, 2024 at 8:49 am

Really? I’m sure JESUS is more concerned about what the PEOPLE IN POWER are doing to HELP those SICK AND SUFFERING from epilepsy and cancer and other conditions for which conventional treatments have not helped than passing anything else you personally think is more pressing. Read the Bill or better yet the Bible.

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MemoryQueen Top fan April 29, 2024 at 9:10 am

Until you’ve had a loved one’s life trainwrecked by a disease that diminishes not only their quality of life but financially and emotionally destroys the entire family’s, it’s hard to grasp the importance of this bill.
SC history plays a huge role in its failure to acknowledge the benefits of this drug. Why? Because our major crop was cotton and hemp was known to be a superior crop. Thus, propaganda arose about Marijuana making people go crazy and become violently aggressive. All of which are not true. Getting pharmaceutical grade that can be altered to eliminate or dial down the THC is the best source for those who will medically benefit from its properties. Never would I personally ever have thought that I would be a proponent of such a Bill. But when you have a child who has been diagnosed with retractable seizures and has tumors suffered for his entire life, who can’t speak or eat and who you at once feared would die, but now fear he may outlive you and suffer an unimaginable life, you do research. You become more aware of others suffering. No other drug (well over 40 combinations tried and failed) and you have a doctor who specializes in his condition tell you, it’s done wonders for others with your son’s condition and I’ll write a note to keep with you as UNFORTUNATELY YOU LIVE IN A STATE THAT FAILS TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT’S MEDICINAL BENEFITS, then you sit for YEARS and pray someone will help you. That someone was TOM DAVIS. Please don’t let the ‘policemen’ whose views are skewed to dictate what medical research has proven. These aren’t people who are well enough to drive, let alone hurt another. They are simply trying to live with a condition they didn’t ask for!

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