Is Medical Marijuana Coming to South Carolina in 2022?
South Carolina, you’re almost there! A bill that would allow patients with qualifying conditions to purchase and use medical marijuana has passed the Senate and is now assigned to a House subcommittee for debate.
The Senate passed the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act by a 28-15 vote, with bipartisan support and opposition, as there were members of both parties who voted for and against bringing relief to suffering South Carolinians.
The bill must pass a vote in a subcommittee of the House’s Medical, Military, and Municipal Affairs Committee. Should it succeed there, it will need to be passed by the full Committee before receiving a vote by the entire House. Of course, if the bill makes it that far, it will end up on the desk of Governor Henry McMaster. Only his signature will stand between South Carolina joining the thirty-seven other states that have medical marijuana markets. South Carolina can join the others in recognizing that treating sick people is more important than maintaining outdated stereotypes and stigmas about a safe, effective medicine.
Bill Seen as Victory for Bipartisanship, Democratic Process
Although senators from both parties voted against the bill, the Compassionate Care Act passed the Senate by an overwhelming, bipartisan vote.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort, saw the Senate’s passage of his bill as a demonstration of functioning democracy in action. This was a victory for both bipartisanship and democracy.
“Even those that were opposed to the bill, I mean, they could’ve just been opposed,” Davis told WCSC, Charleston’s CBS affiliate. They expressed their concerns, but then they dug in and tried to make the bill better. And so, what you saw over the last three weeks is what’s supposed to happen in a representative democracy, Davis said Thursday.
Significant Changes Made to Medical Marijuana Bill
The Compassionate Care Act was amended a number of times during the three weeks of Senate debate. Among the most noteworthy changes was one that benefits South Carolina farmers and ensures that trained and qualified pharmacists will oversee retail sales of medical marijuana.
One amendment to the bill gives priority to existing South Carolina farms when it comes to licensing medical marijuana growers. The hope is to reward Palmetto State farmers, rather than the newcomers who are hoping to make quick money once medical marijuana is a viable crop.
Another amendment says that only licensed pharmacists will be allowed to dispense medical marijuana. Senator Davis told WCSC that “on the dispensing end, we really needed a medical professional to be there to address some of the concerns” that some of his colleagues had about the bill.
Some Are Disappointed by Restrictive, Conservative Bill
Senator Davis has described his bill as “the strictest and most conservative medical marijuana legislation in the country.”
Davis has been trying for seven years to get medical marijuana legislation passed. He told U.S. News and World Report that he crafted this bill to be among the most conservative medical marijuana laws in the country, in an effort to win support from his fellow Republicans.
While that effort succeeded, some are disappointed by how restrictive the bill is. The Compassionate Care Act would limit the forms of medical marijuana available in dispensaries, allowing patients to dose their medicine via oils, salves, patches, and vaporizers.
And while the lack of popular options, like edibles and raw flower marijuana, may be disappointing to some South Carolinians, there’s still good news: The Palmetto State may be getting a medical marijuana law, and those laws are much easier to amend than they are to pass.
Consider Minnesota and Texas. Both states have very restrictive medical marijuana programs, but those programs were far more restrictive just a year ago, as both states expanded their programs in 2021. They should serve as reminders to disappointed patients here. Should the Compassionate Care Act pass in its current form, you fought long and hard to get medical marijuana and it worked. If you don’t like the law you get, just raise those voices again.
Your Voice Is Vital to Passing and Improving South Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Law
It’s especially important to raise those voices now, when the bill isn’t a law yet, because opponents of medical marijuana have been doing so for some time and aren’t likely to give up now.
Representative Jerry Carter of Pickens County told WYFF, Greenville’s NBC affiliate, that “There's a significant number of proponents and a significant number of opponents and we're hearing from both sides.” In fact, he has been hearing from both sides for some time: “I've been receiving emails about this bill for two years now,” the representative said.
So far, the voices of medical marijuana advocates have had the most effect on this issue, so if you’d like to see relief come to South Carolina, be sure to let your representatives know.
Governor Undecided on Compassionate Care Act
One South Carolina politician who isn’t sold on medical marijuana is Governor McMaster. When asked about his stance on the bill, he told WCSC, “It’s premature to say. Have to see what’s in a bill, if there is one.”
Senator Davis was confident that the governor would sign the bill into law should it pass the House, telling WCSC that “I really do think that this bill is so well-drawn at this point in time, and it addresses all the concerns that have been advanced, that I do think it’s something that Governor McMaster will ultimately sign.”
Still, South Carolinians who support medical marijuana may want to add contacting Governor McMasters to their to-do lists.
Get Ready for South Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Law Right Now
So, will medical marijuana come to South Carolina in 2022? We’re not psychics, but if we had a Magic 8 Ball, we think it would tell us that “All signs point to yes.”
We have to wait and see if those signs are pointing in the right direction, but Palmetto State residents don’t have to wait to start getting ready for medical marijuana, whether it comes in 2022 or beyond.
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our compassionate doctors as soon as the state’s medical marijuana program is official!
You and your new doctor will discuss your conditions, whether you qualify for a South Carolina Marijuana Card, and what medical marijuana might be able to do for you. You’ll even save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
South Carolina Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6670, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out South Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!