Medical cannabis bills introduced on first day of session
Last update: January 10, 2017
On the first day of the legislative session, January 10, 2017, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy introduced a comprehensive medical cannabis bill, and stood with patients and their loved ones to call for its swift passage. The bill would allow seriously ill patients with debilitating medical conditions to obtain state ID cards that allow them to access medical cannabis from a state regulated dispensary.
While 28 states and Washington, D.C. now have effective medical marijuana laws, South Carolina’s seriously ill patients remain criminals if they use a treatment option that is safer than many prescriptions.
This year, lawmakers and advocates are hopeful about success in the Palmetto State due to a more aggressive educational campaign for lawmakers combined with the creation of a new state advocacy group, SC Compassion. If you’re interested in getting involved locally, visit the SC Compassion website.
For more information on medical cannabis, including effective arguments and rebuttals to common concerns, visit MPP’s medical marijuana page.
With your help, South Carolina could be the next state to create medical cannabis access for seriously ill patients.
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, 21 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.
- If you live in South Carolina, please email your lawmakers in support of compassionate comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.
- Ask your legislators to support common sense penalties for marijuana possession.
- Urge your lawmakers to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system to tax and regulate marijuana in South Carolina.
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 [email protected] 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.