Last Update: April 3, 2014
South Carolina Legislature debates ineffective proposal; workable bill sits idle in committee
2014 may prove to be the year the South Carolina Legislature finally takes action to protect the sick and suffering in the Palmetto State from arrest and prosecution for possessing, using, and obtaining medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Senate passed, and the House is debating, a proposal intended to allow individuals with severe epileptic disorders to access and use CBD extract only. Unfortunately, this proposal excludes the vast majority of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana. Not only that, it will surely prove unworkable as it relies on federal cooperation.
Meanwhile, a bill that would create a workable medical marijuana program has been pending in the House Committee on Judiciary since its introduction. H 4879 – introduced by House Minority Leader Rutherford – would exempt individuals with certain serious and debilitating conditions from criminal penalties for using and possessing medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The bill would create a regulated medical marijuana-dispensing program so patients can have legal access to the medicine they need. If you are a South Carolina resident, please email your lawmakers in support of this bill.
If you are interested in getting more involved and are a person with a serious illness, doctor, nurse, clergy member, Ph.D., lawyer, or other influential member of your community, please email email@example.com.
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Marijuana Laws in South Carolina
In 2007, marijuana possession arrests (as opposed to arrests for manufacture or sales) accounted for 91% of all marijuana-related arrests in South Carolina. Unfortunately, these arrests affect minority communities in South Carolina most harshly. According to the ACLU, black South Carolinians are almost three times as likely to be arrested as their white neighbors, despite similar use rates. These arrests are made at the expense of preventing and solving violent and property crimes. It is time that South Carolina reform its criminal penalties for marijuana possession to free up the necessary time and money to go after the violent criminals who cause true havoc in our communities.
You can email your legislators to ask them to change the penalty for marijuana possession to a simple fine or to ask them to end marijuana prohibition completely in South Carolina. If you’d like to volunteer or if you are someone with a special connection to the issue — such as a clergy member or current or past member of law enforcement — please email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can be of special help.
For more information on South Carolina’s marijuana arrests, usage, and other related data, please see Jon Gettman, Ph.D.’s report.