One Step Closer: House Committee Passes South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill
Updated: Jun 13, 2022
Palmetto State residents are closer than ever before to getting a South Carolina Marijuana Card.
In February when the Senate passed the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, it went on to be debated by the House’s Medical, Municipal, and Military Affairs committee. It needed to pass out of that body before being voted on by the entire House.
Well, on April 7, the committee voted 16-3 in favor of the bill, so it’s now just two steps from becoming law! The entire House must pass the bill, and the governor must sign it as well.
House Committee Made Minor Revisions to South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill
The committee made a few changes to the bill before passing it. According to the Associated Press, “They added criminal background checks for distributors and security plans for their businesses. The exact strain of marijuana and what ingredients are in the oil, salve or other product would have to be given to patients. And the bill now allows some podiatrists with extra training to the list of doctors who can prescribe medical marijuana.”
Medical Marijuana Bill’s Passage Is Not a Sure Thing
This is the closest South Carolina has been to getting medical in the seven years since Senator Tom Davis first began proposing cannabis reform bills. However, its passage out of the House is hardly guaranteed as there are supporters and detractors on both sides of the aisle.
“Some Things You Just Have to Deal With”
One Republican lawmaker explained his opposition to the bill, trying to prevent suffering people from recieving life-changing relief.
According to the AP, Representative Vic Dabney said in a public hearing that he felt the bill allowed for too many qualifying conditions and would issue marijuana cards to patients who should just tough out their conditions. The representative said “some things you just have to deal with, like a shaking hand.”
When looking at the proposed qualifying conditions, it’s hard to figure out which ones could just be dealt with, but one should know by now not to try to apply logic to Representative Dabney’s thoughts on marijuana.
The AP reports that when Dabney was told that medical marijuana was organic and safer than alcohol, he replied “Well poison ivy is an organic plant and I’m not going to chew it or smoke it or rub it all over me.”
Of course poison ivy doesn’t have massive amounts of scientific literature demonstrating its safety and efficacy in treating numerous conditions, but sure, other than that the analogy makes sense.
According to WLTX, Columbia’s South Carolina affiliate, Representative Sandy McGarry, explained her no vote by saying that the FDA hasn’t recognized marijuana as a medication, so it shouldn’t be the South Carolina Legislature’s place to do so.
Of course McGarry didn’t mention that the FDA cannot legally recognize marijuana as medicine until the federal government removes it from its placement as a Schedule I narcotic. Either the representative is being disingenuous in her explanation or she is a lawmaker who doesn’t understand the law. Either way, saying a state shouldn’t pass a law its people overwhelmingly want because it should defer to the federal government is kind of antithetical to the beliefs of conservatism.
Another Republican Representative, Ryan McCabe, raised an objection that is more philosophically consistent with the conservatism he and his colleagues supposedly believe in. According to WIS, Columbia’s NBC/CW affiliate, the representative objected to limitations on how many cannabis cultivators would be licensed under the bill, said “Limiting this to fifteen growers is going to make fifteen growers incredibly rich. If we’re going to do this bill, it needs to be a true free market bill.”
Some Democrat Lawmakers Also Oppose South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill
It’s the GOP who is most associated with opposing marijuana reform, but some Democrats in Columbia also disapprove of progress.
Representative Kimberly Johnson voted for the bill in the April 7 committee vote, whereas her father, Senator Kevin Johnson, voted against it from the senate floor.
Kimberly Johnson attributes her support for the bill in part to her support for veterans. According to the AP, she and other Democratic supporters have noted that while most of the focus on who could be helped by the bill has been directed towards children and people with terminal conditions, many of the people who have participated in public hearings about the bill were veterans looking for relief from PTSD and other conditions.
“We’re always telling veterans thank you for your service. But I believe that talk needs to be matched by the walk,” Kimberly Johnson said.
Medical Marijuana’s Top Champion in Columbia Continues to Support Open Dialogue
Back in January, while the Senate was debating the bill, Tom Davis told his colleagues who opposed it to offer revisions and suggestions on improving it instead of sticking doggedly to prohibition. “If you’ve got other ideas, if you’ve got ways to make this bill better, I’m up for that,” Davis said at the time. According to the Associated Press, Davis has had that same welcoming, open stance on his legislation since he first began proposing it in 2015, and he held numerous one-on-one sessions with his colleagues during that time.
The Senator is still whistling the same tune in 2022. The AP reports that Davis attended a six-hour debate over his bill in the House on April 4, just “to see if there is anything else he could learn to make the bill better.”
“This is not the legislature prescribing medicine,” Davis told House members at the time in a shot at his small-government colleagues who insist they know what is medically better for their constituents than doctors do. “This is the legislature getting out of medicine.”
You Have to Wait for the Bill to Pass Before You Get Medical Marijuana, but You Can Get Ready Right Now
The House isn’t expected to vote on the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act until May, but you can start getting ready for medical marijuana’s arrival in the Palmetto State now!
Reserve an evaluation online today, and we’ll book an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors just as soon as the state’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
You’ll learn if you qualify for a South Carolina Marijuana Card and how to best treat your conditions with safe, effective medical marijuana. 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!