Support For South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Builds Ahead Of Hearing This Month

MJ moment

Military veterans are pushing lawmakers to back medical cannabis as a March 18 Senate hearing approaches. By John Haughey | The Center Square Health care advocates, criminal justice reform proponents, budget hawks and veterans groups are among bipartisan supporters hoping the seventh time is the charm when it comes to South Carolina establishing a legal medical marijuana program. This year’s version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, Senate Bill 150, has been filed by Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, who has authored several of the similar bills that have failed since 2015. SB 150 was introduced on January 12 and is scheduled for its debut hearing on March 18 before the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. Its House companion, House Bill 3361, filed by Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton, has 18 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee, where it awaits hearings. South Carolina is one of 14 states that has not created a medical marijuana program despite overwhelming support by state residents for legal cannabis. A 2018 Benchmark Research poll showed 72 percent of South Carolinians support legalizing medical marijuana, including 63 percent of Republicans. There’s nothing new in the 2021 version of the bill compared with previous iterations, Davis said during a news conference Monday called by veterans groups to rally support for SB 150, which essentially is the same House bill that advanced to both chamber floors last year before the COVID-19 pandemic short-circuited the legislative session. “The bill has been thoroughly vetted,” Davis said. “It’s been looked at by the SC Medical Association. It has been looked at by law enforcement. We have a very good, tightly regulated medical cannabis bill.” The legislation authorizes marijuana use for people suffering from debilitating illnesses ranging from epilepsy to PTSD. Under the measure,…

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