South Carolina Senate Votes to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Legislation to legalize medical marijuana has been given approval by the full South Carolina Senate.

Senate Bill 423 was passed today by the Senate in a 26 to 17 vote. Filed by Senator Thomas Davis with a bipartisan coalition of 11 cosponsors, the measure would establish the South Carolina Medical Cannabis Program, creating “a seed-to-sale system to provide for the sale of medical cannabis to treat a qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or to alleviate symptoms.”

The law would allow patients to possess an “Allowable amount of medical cannabis” or “allowable amount of cannabis products”, defined as:

  • cannabis products for topical administration including, but not limited to, patches for transdermal administration or lotions, creams, or ointments, that contain a total of no more than four thousand milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol;
  • cannabis products for oral administration including, but not limited to, oils, tinctures, capsules, or edible forms, that contain a total of no more than one thousand six hundred milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol;
  • cannabis products that consist of oils for vaporization that contain a total of no more than eight thousand two hundred milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol; or
  • for any other modes of delivery, an equivalent amount as determined by the department.

The measure would establish a licensed and regulated system of marijuana dispensaries, able to supply the medicine to any qualified patient. The Department of Health and Environmental Control and Board of Pharmacy would be tasked with establish rules and handling licensing for marijuana businesses.

Qualifying conditions under the proposed law include:

  • cancer;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • neurological diseases or disorders, including epilepsy;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), subject to evidentiary requirements;
  • Crohn’s disease;
  • sickle cell anemia;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • cachexia or wasting syndrome;
  • autism;
  • severe or persistent nausea unrelated to pregnancy, associated with end-of-life or hospice care, or bedridden/homebound due to a condition;
  • chronic medical conditions causing severe and persistent muscle spasms;
  • any chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition for which opioids are prescribed or could be prescribed by a physician, subject to specific requirements.
  • A terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year, as determined by the treating physician.
  • Any other serious medical condition or its treatment added by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

The full text of SB 423 can be found by clicking here. The measure now advanced to the House of Representatives; passage in the House would send the bill to Governor Henry McMaster.

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