Medical cannabis bills back before lawmakers in 2019

 

Last update: February 12, 2019

 

The legislative effort to pass the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act is again underway in South Carolina. Legislative champions, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, have introduced measures this year that continue the legislative effort to establish a comprehensive and well-regulated program for seriously ill patients to get access. These measures gained a great deal of support from lawmakers last year, and that work to build support continues.

If you are a resident of South Carolina, make sure your lawmakers know of your continued support. For a closer look at the policies, Sen. Davis’s bill is available online here, and Rep. McCoy’s measure in the House is available online here. For a summary of many of the key provisions of the measure, click here. We’ve also created a handout on medical cannabis and its benefits in South Carolina, available online here.

And finally, if you would like to get involved, please contact our allies at Compassionate S.C. for ways you can contribute!


Decriminalization

 

In 2012, marijuana possession arrests (as opposed to arrests for manufacture or sales) accounted for 88% 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.

Thankfully, South Carolina lawmakers are starting to realize that it’s time to reform the state’s criminal penalties for marijuana possession to free up the necessary time and money to go after violent criminals who cause true havoc in our communities. Rep. Mike Pitts introduced H. 3117, which would have made possession of one ounce or less punishable by a civil fine of $100-200 and would not carry an arrest. While this legislation did not receive a floor vote during the 2015-2016 session, it’s important your legislators hear you support this sensible step forward.

Currently, 23 states — including North Carolina and Mississippi — have removed jail time as a possible penalty for marijuana possession.

For more information on South Carolina’s marijuana arrests, usage, and other related data, please see Jon Gettman, Ph.D.’s report.


Take action!

 

Speak out:

Contact us: 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 state@mpp.org and be sure to include your address or zip code.

Stay connected: To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in South Carolina, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.