Committee passed bill 14-3, which will go to the full House for consideration; Senate version approved by Medical Affairs Committee in March

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (3M) Committee overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana bill on Thursday in a vote of 14-3, sending it to the full House for consideration. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, known as H 3521 in the House, would allow seriously ill patients to use marijuana to treat their conditions with a recommendation from their doctors.

The legislature’s crossover deadline has already passed, but this vote, combined with approval by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on March 29, builds momentum for full passage next year.

“The diligent work of patients, advocates, and supportive lawmakers is paying off, and South Carolinians are closer to finding relief with medical cannabis than ever before,” said Janel Ralph, executive director of Compassionate South Carolina, whose eight-year-old daughter has a rare seizure disorder. “This issue needs to stay at the forefront of the legislature’s attention, and we will continue working to educate them about the need for a compassionate medical cannabis program in our state. Patients will continue to suffer until this bill is passed and implemented. We commend lawmakers for allowing the Compassionate Care Act to progress this far, and urge them not to delay taking it up when the next session begins.”

CSC.Health has been hosting educational seminars with medical experts, law enforcement, regulators, and policymakers from around the country, most recently on Wednesday in Columbia.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories.

There are currently 29 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, with effective medical marijuana laws on the books.

According to an October 2016 Winthrop Poll, 78% of South Carolina residents approve of making cannabis legal for medical purposes.

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CSC.Health (Compassionate SC) is a statewide coalition of patients, families, and advocates working to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in South Carolina. For more information, visit https://www.CompassionateSC.com.