Medical Marijuana Could Come to South Carolina Through Federal Decriminalization!
Good news, everyone. We’ve taken a giant step towards the day when you’ll be able to get a South Carolina Marijuana Card.
U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Mace, who represents South Carolina’s first congressional district, announced on November 15 that she has written a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, making it easier for states to chart their own legislative paths when it comes to dealing with cannabis.
States Reform Act Would Remove Cannabis from Schedule I Classification
Although medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, at the federal level it is still classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.” This status creates legal roadblocks for researchers who study marijuana, and drives up the cost of medical marijuana by forcing dispensaries to find ways around federal limitations on their businesses.
Proposed Law Would Give Power Back to the States
Mace’s legislation would remove marijuana from the federal list of Schedule I drugs, allowing each state to craft their own marijuana laws free of federal interference. But no state would be forced to change their own marijuana policies as a consequence of the medicine’s changed federal status.
“It protects each state’s unique laws and reforms,” Mace said at a news conference announcing the bill. “It takes into account at the federal level that every state is different.”
Federal Government Would Maintain a Hand in Marijuana Regulation
Mace said at the news conference that her bill would give the USDA jurisdiction over issues related to the growing of marijuana, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms would share regulatory responsibilities over cannabis products with the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the FDA would oversee medical marijuana.
A Republican-backed Bill Marks a Big Step Forward for Marijuana Legalization Efforts
Mace also said at the news conference that her bill would have six GOP co-sponsors. While Republican support for a marijuana reform bill isn’t unprecedented, not even at the federal level, traditionally Republicans have stonewalled legalization at every turn. However, that tradition has begun to change, as Mace’s announcement underscores.
Still, for seven Republican U.S. Senators to support a legalization bill suggests that change has been accelerating at a faster pace than anyone realized, ourselves included.
This summer, we encouraged you to reach out to your state lawmakers and let them know you supported medical marijuana. We knew that kind of pressure could reverse Republican stonewalling and accelerate medical marijuana’s arrival in South Carolina.
We were sure that times had changed to the point that the ice was just about to break, and real change in South Carolina was right around the corner.
But now we see we were being too cautious in our optimism. Even if Mace’s bill doesn’t pass, it represents an unprecedented point in the story of cannabis prohibition. Several conservative federal lawmakers ready to publicly support relaxing marijuana restrictions? It’s now going to be that much easier for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and at both the federal and state levels to do the same.
Not All Conservatives Support Mace’s Marijuana Bill
Predictably, not all conservatives have been supportive of Mace’s announcement, and even more predictably their reasons for withholding support are questionable.
Within ten minutes of Mace’s news conference ending, South Carolina Republican Chairman Chairman Drew McKissick released a statement on behalf of the state party.
“Unequivocally, the South Carolina Republican Party is against any effort to legalize, decriminalize the use of controlled substances, and that includes this bill,” McKissick said in the statement. The statement also offered the logic behind the state party’s refusal to support legalization: that such efforts undermine the will and wishes of law enforcement officers and agencies.
The People of South Carolina Support Legalization
The thoughts of law enforcement entities aside, one would think that a state political party that ostensibly requires support from voters would be more inclined to listen to the will of its constituents. And make no mistake about it: The people of South Carolina don’t support the current federal position on marijuana. About 72% of South Carolinians support medical marijuana, the implementation of which would be much easier and more affordable if there were fewer federal hoops through which to jump.
“Gateway Drug?” Are They Still Resorting to That One?
Another objection to Mace’s plan came from Palmetto Family, a conervative Christian lobbying organization. Dave Wilson, their president, issued a statement in response to Mace’s announcement, saying marijuana is “the number one gateway drug to the exploding opioid crisis that is ravaging our state” and that legalizing marijuana would “will make this crisis exponentially worse.”
Increased Access to Marijuana Lowers Opioid Dependency
The mistake in Mr. Wilson’s thinking is that increasing the accessibility of marijuana doesn’t lead to increased opioid use. In fact, far from being a “gateway drug,” marijuana leads to less dependence on dangerous drugs and self-medicating.
In fact, research indicates that medical marijuana users are less likely to turn to opioids for pain relief and that medical marijuana users are less likely to abuse alcohol to alleviate their pain.
If Mr. Wilson is truly worried about the opioid crisis and about deterring South Carolinians from using dangerous drugs, he should in fact embrace allowing the state, and more importantly the people of the state, to chart their own course on cannabis.
You Don’t Have to Wait for Federal and State Lawmakers to Get with the Times Before Starting Your Medical Marijuana Journey
Times have indeed changed. In addition to the 72% of South Carolinians who support it, 91% of all Americans also support medical marijuana.
And while we may have to wait for the day when our lawmakers catch up with those changing times before we can get medical marijuana, we can get ready for that day right now.
Reserve an evaluation today with one of our highly qualified doctors, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as South Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll meet with your new doctor virtually, using your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a telemedicine appointment. Without even leaving your own home, you’ll discuss your condition and learn what medical marijuana may 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!