What happened to South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill and where it goes next

Palmetto Pot War

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW/AP) – The sponsor of South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill claims “the votes are there” to pass medical marijuana despite the bill not getting to the governor’s desk in 2021.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow non-smokable forms of pot for people with illnesses, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia and autism. Its sponsor, state Sen. Tom Davis calls it “the most conservative medical cannabis bill in the country.”

Davis said as recently as January the bill would become law in 2021. After seven years of fighting for the legislation, his timeline has shifted again to 2022.

The bill already passed the Senate Medical Affairs Committee 9-5, with four Republicans and two Democrats against it. The legislation “will be the first debated when the SC Senate reconvenes next January,” Davis wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Opponents of marijuana legislation include SLED chief Mark Keel. “Every time they have come to the table with constructive suggestions we have listened because I want a very conservative bill,” said Davis. “I want a bill that is going to be a template for any state that says look we want to empower our doctors to what’s in the best interest of our patients but not get on the slippery slope to recreational use.”

Davis appeared to be close to winning the support of Governor Henry McMaster, the AP reported in March.

“He makes a very convincing argument,” McMaster told the Post and Courier of Charleston. “I try to keep an open mind. There may be a way to do it, I don’t know. But I’m open to hearing more about it because it’s clear that it alleviates a lot of suffering. The trick is how to keep that from turning loose marijuana production in the state that would cause damage.”

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