South Carolina’s new medical cannabis bill raises some eyebrows

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

South Carolina, along with 13 other U.S. states, still outlaws medical cannabis use. However, if Senate Bill 150, titled, “The S.C. Compassionate Care Act,” is approved and adopted into law, things could soon change.

Although the bill has already received plenty of support from cannabis legalization proponents, York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson is against the idea. 

So much so, in fact, that he even went as far as to organize a law enforcement forum on the subject.

There is a concern amongst some leaders that this really isn’t about medical cannabis, the end game is recreational cannabis,” he said.

About South Carolina’s medical cannabis bill

Submitted by Republican Senator Tom Davis, South Carolina’s medical cannabis measure features a list of qualifying conditions that include people who suffer from chronic pain, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other crippling medical conditions.

“It provides for doctors to have this authority,” said Senator Tom Davis, ‘it specifies the patients that can qualify to receive this medicine if doctors think it’s in their best interest and then it draws a bright line against any recreational use.”

According to Davis, SB 150 does not cap the potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis’ primary psychoactive compound. On the other hand, he notes that there are certain requirements that producers and retailers must abide by in regards to displaying the THC percentage.

“The assertion that you don’t know what you’re getting if you authorize the use of cannabis, you need to read my bill,” he said said, adding that what his bill says “is an independent lab has to analyze the cannabis and then label it in terms of what percent THC does it have? What percent CBD does it have?”

SB 150 is expected to be pondered over by lawmakers in the Senate imminently. Based on David’s belief, debate is likely to ensue for more than a week before the measure is voted on.

Bill’s GOP sponsor is hopeful about its passing

Beaufort Republican Tom Davis, a respected member of the South Carolina Senate, has been pushing for medical cannabis legalization for years.

Notwithstanding the resistance that South Carolina’s medical cannabis measure is facing from cannabis reform opponents, he remains optimistic that 2022 will see the bill’s approval and implementation.

“I’m optimistic about this bill being approved by both chambers of the legislature and sent to Governor McMaster before we adjourn in May,” he said. “I’ve done a pretty good canvassing of my colleagues in the state senate. I’m confident that I have a majority of Senators in favor of this bill.

Sen. Davis, R-Beaufort, describes his proposed measure as “very conservative”. However, he claims that the bill also permits doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to patients who struggle with numerous life-impacting health conditions, such as chronic pain, Crohn’s and PTSD.

“It’s not going to be as liberal or as generous or as broad as some other bills, but that’s ok because it is a bill that reflects what South Carolinians want. They want to empower doctors to help patients who truly need cannabis for medical conditions,” he told reporters.

The GOP sponsor of South Carolina’s medical cannabis bill says that he has spent time investigating the medical cannabis bills adopted in 36 other U.S. states. This, Davis feels, will aid him in preparing the measure which could stimulate further movement in terms of legalization.