It seems South Carolina is next in line to act upon the growing popularity of marijuana across the U.S. Two legislators have tabled a bill that, if passed, would allow patients to start using medical marijuana.
The Compassionate Care Act is sponsored by Rep. Peter McCoy and Sen. Tom Davis. When unveiling the bill, Sen. Davis said that their interest in introducing that bill was to make it possible for patients and their doctors to decide whether medical marijuana can be helpful in promoting the health of the patient. Such a decision should not be left to politicians or law enforcement agencies, he added.
True to the conservative nature of South Carolina, the proposed bill comes with numerous restrictions to prevent the program from being abused by those who wish to consume recreational marijuana.
For example, physicians will constantly monitor how the patients they recommended are using medical marijuana.
The bill also limits the qualifying conditions for which one can obtain a medical cannabis card. Only patients with chronic conditions will be eligible to get medical marijuana cards if the bill is passed in its current form. This is unlike some other states where nearly everyone can apply and receive a medical marijuana license since the qualifying conditions are loosely defined.
Currently, about 72 percent of people in South Carolina support the legalization of medical cannabis. The sponsors of this bill are counting on that popular support to see the bill through the legislature.
However, it will not be smooth sailing for the proposed law. There is opposition from different sections of the community, such as law enforcement and some members of the medical profession.
The Chairman of South Carolina’s Medical Association, Dr. John Ropp, is one of those who are vehemently opposed to the legalization of medical marijuana. He says that cannabis has been prohibited for approximately 50 years and it remains a Schedule 1 substance. This means that there is insufficient scientific data regarding its efficacy as a medicine. He adds that cannabis can only be used as a medicine once peer-reviewed studies show that it has medicinal value.
That is the same argument that the FDA, DEA and other federal agencies have been pushing, and yet the current federal legal regime continues to make it hard for researchers to study the plant and obtain the needed scientific backing for its use as a medicine.
All the same, Sen. Davis and Rep. McCoy are pressing ahead with the bill, and if it doesn’t succeed then a ballot measure may be on the cards. The cannabis industry, including Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) and Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) hopes that consensus is quickly built so that the patients who badly need medical cannabis can access it legally within the state.
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