South Carolina Medical Cannabis Hearings: Overwhelmingly Positive
On Tuesday, 2/21/17, the South Carolina house committee will meet over whether or not there is a medical cannabis program in the state’s future. A recent poll in South Carolina (Withrop University – commissioned by the state newspaper) showed that over 75% are in favor of a medical cannabis program; however several state departments and legislators, including the state’s Governor, Henry McMaster, are actively opposing the bill. In fact, law enforcement groups and medical professionals in the state continue to refute the necessity for a medical cannabis program stating various reasons including the difficulties associated with monitoring such a program. The bill, known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, includes language that the program would implement a seed-to-sale tracking system to provide transparency to the state.
While many government officials and agencies in South Carolina are still skeptical, one state Senator, Tom Davis, has been fighting for a cannabis program in the state for several years.
“It’s an issue where the politicians are a little bit behind the people, but we’re catching up,” said Davis.
With the majority of South Carolinians now in favor of a medical cannabis program, Davis has been working to develop a program that addresses the concerns of law enforcement while providing the people with accessible medical cannabis. South Carolina would be the 29th state to legalize cannabis for medical use, so Davis has a plethora of examples to cite showing how a medical cannabis program can be implemented both effectively and most importantly, safely.
“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Davis said. “There’s 28 other states that have done this and have told us what works, and we have an idea of what doesn’t work.”
Davis has been gathering expert testimony to present on Tuesday from law enforcement and medical professionals to patients in need of medical cannabis. Among this expert testimony includes 9 year old South Carolina resident, Mary Louise Swing, whose severe epilepsy forces her to wear sunglasses to school in order to avoid seizures that are caused by the bright fluorescent lighting. Mary’s mother, Jill, took her up to Maine over the summer where medical cannabis is legal, and brought home a new child.
“I brought home a different child than I took up there,” Swing said Thursday, adding Mary Louise was able to go outside for long walks with no severe consequences.
South Carolina legalized CBD oil for medicinal use in 2015, which has very low doses of THC, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. Davis and Swing have been pushing for medical cannabis in the state for over 3 years.
BioTrackTHC representatives have been present at many of the hearings leading up to Tuesday stating, “The meetings were overwhelmingly positive and informative about the state of the South Carolina cannabis industry.”