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South Carolina Could Legalize Medical Marijuana in 2021

December 11, 2020

Republican lawmakers in the state of South Carolina have filed two versions of The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act which would legalize medical marijuana in the state in 2021. The pre-filed legislation includes House measure H.3361 and Sen. Tom Davis’ (R) S.150 for the Senate’s version of the legislature. 

The measures are expected to be taken up in mid-January when the chambers begin next year’s session. “It’s unacceptable that South Carolinians with serious illnesses have to break the law to alleviate their suffering,” House Representative and sponsor of the legislation Bill Herbkersman (R) told Marijuana Moment. “[South Carolinians] deserve the same options to medicine that are afforded to Americans in 36 other states.” 

Lawmakers Feel Legislation Has Good Chance of Passing 

While South Carolina does not currently have a citizen-led initiative process in place, which has accounted for the legalization of medical cannabis in many other states, Republican lawmakers in the state are confident that they can “get something passed this session.” 

In a December 10th statement, Davis mentioned that the proposed Senate bill has been vetted for five full years with input from various stakeholders. Further, he said that the time has come for lawmakers to “get out of the way,” allowing patients to legally and safely access cannabis after consultation with their physician. 

Details of the Proposed South Carolina Medical Marijuana Legislation 

While both the House and Senate versions of the legislation contain different specifics, both measures seek to legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients and implement a dispensary system for distribution. 

Both H.3361 and S.150 would forbid patients from growing their own plants. Of the two bills, the House version is less constrictive, which usually leads to better results. It would allow for marijuana flower to be smoked (as S.150 permits exclusively oils, edibles, and topical applications), and make smoking-related paraphernalia legal. 

Should either legislation be passed, a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board would be established to assist doctors in considering what types of qualifying conditions would permit patients to use cannabis as a treatment method. 

Contributed by Jack Berning