Charleston GOP endorses medical marijuana legislation

Charleston GOP endorses medical marijuana legislation
January 15 13:36 2019 Print This Article

The Executive Committee of the Charleston County Republican Party got the ball rolling for the legalization of medical marijuana in South Carolina by voting Monday to endorse the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act. The legislation, which will be filed today by Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and Representative Peter McCoy (R-James Island), would enable physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use. Quality control and distribution would be regulated by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The resolution passed by Charleston County Republicans will be taken up by the South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) Executive Committee in February.

Medical marijuana is currently allowed in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The use of medical marijuana has been endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Epilepsy Foundation, the American Nurses Association, and other national medical groups. Research shows that it has been effective in treating patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis (MS), severe nausea, epilepsy, and other debilitating medical conditions. There is also evidence in states with legalized medical marijuana that it reduces opioid prescriptions and dependency.

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Care Act does not allow patients to smoke marijuana. Among the usable forms are pills, topical oils and creams, and patches. The sale of the medical marijuana would only be allowed at licensed dispensaries and would include a 6% sales tax to fund DHEC regulatory enforcement. It places strict requirements on quality control testing, labeling and packaging. A 2016 statewide survey conducted by Winthrop University showed 78% approval for medical marijuana.

Charleston County Republicans had a vigorous debate about the SC Compassionate Care Act. Opponents were concerned that it could lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana use and an increase in crime. Supporters pointed to safeguards in the legislation, including the need for prescribing physicians to perform follow-up examinations and the child-proof packaging. One point made in favor of the resolution was President Donald Trump’s support for medical marijuana. The precinct officers in attendance voted in favor of the resolution by a nearly three-to-one margin.