Monday, November 28, 2022

SC Senate sends medical marijuana bill over to House of Representatives

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – The invoice to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina is now within the arms of the state’s Home of Representatives.

The Senate voted late Wednesday night time to move S.150, the SC Compassionate Care Act, in a 28-15 vote, with senators from each events voting each for and towards it, and gave the invoice a routine third studying Thursday to ship it to the decrease chamber.

Whereas Wednesday’s vote was historic in South Carolina, the place medical marijuana laws had by no means superior as far as to get a debate on the Senate ground earlier than this yr, the proposal nonetheless wants to clear a few hurdles earlier than it might turn out to be legislation.

It must transfer by way of a Home subcommittee, then a committee, then be handed by the total Home of Representatives earlier than it will attain the governor’s desk.

The workplace of Speaker of the Home Jay Lucas, R – Darlington, stated the invoice shall be assigned to a committee subsequent Tuesday however that they didn’t have touch upon its future previous that time.

The invoice’s major sponsor, Sen. Tom Davis, R – Beaufort, has been pushing for the laws for seven years and has described it because the strictest and most conservative medical marijuana laws within the nation, in comparison with the 37 states the place it’s already authorized.

The invoice solely permits to be used in oils, salves, patches, and vaporizers, so smoking marijuana would stay unlawful.

A dozen medical circumstances, together with most cancers, a number of sclerosis, and epilepsy, would qualify for prescriptions, which docs would wish to approve in particular person.

Senators signed off on these phrases after three lengthy weeks of debate.

“Even people who have been against the invoice, I imply, they might’ve simply been opposed. They may’ve ranted towards it, they might’ve tried to delay issues. They didn’t. They expressed their issues, however what they then did is dug in and tried to make the invoice higher. And so, what you noticed during the last three weeks is what’s imagined to occur in a consultant democracy,” Davis stated Thursday.

The invoice was closely amended throughout debate Tuesday and Wednesday, with greater than 70 amendments proposed general.

Among the many modifications that have been authorized within the invoice in its present kind, precedence for the restricted variety of develop licenses can be given to established South Carolina farmers; cities and counties might decide out and prohibit medical marijuana from getting used of their jurisdictions; a 6% gross sales tax can be tacked on; and pharmacists would play an even bigger function, as solely sure licensed pharmacies would be capable to dispense the drug.

“I feel that introduced numerous votes onto the aspect of the invoice as a result of they acknowledge, on the entrance finish, that it was very conservative, that the physicians needed to have an in-patient prognosis. They needed to go forward and certify {that a} affected person had a qualifying situation,” Davis stated. “However on the dishing out finish, we actually wanted a medical skilled to be there to handle a few of the issues, so I feel that was the largest factor that modified.”

If the invoice doesn’t move the Home and attain Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk by the tip of the legislative session in Might, it dies, and lawmakers must start this course of over once more subsequent January, together with passing the laws by way of the Senate as soon as extra.

McMaster instructed reporters Tuesday that it was too early to know if he would signal or veto medical marijuana laws.

“It’s untimely to say. Need to see what’s in a invoice, if there may be one,” he stated.

Davis stated he respects the Home’s course of and would make himself obtainable to members as they take into account the laws, and that he was optimistic about what the governor might do if it reaches him.

“I actually do suppose that this invoice is so well-drawn at this cut-off date, and it addresses all of the issues which have been superior, that I do suppose it’s one thing that Gov. McMaster will in the end signal,” Davis stated.

Some conservative teams and state legislation enforcement have largely opposed this invoice.

SLED Chief Mark Keel has said he is concerned concerning the short- and long-term results medical marijuana might have on the state, particularly its youngsters.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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