The southern states have been some of the most conservative in the entire country when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana. In 2014, South Carolina passed Senate Bill 880 and Senate Bill 1035, which allowed industrial hemp farms and permitted children to use cannabidiol in research trials and protected their parents from arrest, respectively. However this is even more limited than many states which allow CBD for epilepsy conditions. On the bright side, it’s looking like the state has a much better chance at seeing medical marijuana policy reform in the coming year.
A bill pre-filed by Rep. Todd Rutherford, House Bill 3128, would create an actual medical marijuana program for patients with a variety of conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, chronic or debilitating diseases or medical conditions where medical marijuana would alleviate one or more symptoms including cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, and/or persistent muscle spasms. Any other conditions that would not qualify under those criteria could be petitioned by the patient for potential approval.
This law would not only allow a large number of patients to qualify to use medical marijuana, but it would create a pathway to legal access – the state would have to come up with their own regulations for dispensaries and cultivation facilities, but patients would be able to possess up to two ounces of usable medical cannabis. Even before dispensaries would be up and running patients could grow up to six plants – but only three of them will be allowed to be mature at once.
“The time has come to put aside archaic misconceptions of medical marijuana and put patients first,” said Rep. Rutherford said in a WLTX report. “I hear devastating stories every single day from people who are battling epilepsy or suffering from a brain tumor who desperately need medical marijuana to treat the debilitating symptoms.”
Rutherford has also pre-filed a second bill, House Bill 3162, which would provide medical marijuana access for military veterans who were honorably discharged and afterwards diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. It would allow them to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or ten grams or less of hashish. If either of the bills pass then there could be a huge number of patients who could finally have medical marijuana access sometime in 2017. Both bills will be introduced and need to pass committee votes before being voted on by the full House and being passed on to the Senate.