Medicinal Marijuana – what is it? what’s your opinion?

The bill has been named “S.C. Compassionate Care Act” but the subject is medicinal marijuana so that’s why I titled it as I did above. That being said, obviously the title of the post conjures up different feelings than it would if I had used the compassionate language that is attached to the bill.

At first glance, some hear marijuana and immediately have certain thoughts. Others who understand details of the bill, may have differing thoughts.

Last month, the Senate passed the bill 28-15.

With the house taking up the budget next week, and then being on furlough the week after. The earliest the bill could hit the House floor would be April.

What are your thoughts/advice about the bill? Click here to see the legislation’s progress through the SC General Assembly, as well as the language from it’s filing to recent amendments that the Senate passed and sent to us.

To save time, I’ll share a few of the highlights that stood out to me in a six page summary prepared by staff.

1) Qualifications: medical condition and written certification issued by physician. Also, patients must apply to DHEC for registration card (which includes photo). Cards must be renewed annually. Conditions are cancer, MS, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, PTSD, autism and others. Special documentation is required for PTSD and alternatives to opiods. Patients between 18-23 must have certifications from 2 physicians. Patients under 18 only qualify if parent/guardian submits application and agrees to other conditions.

2) Advisory Board: consisting of director of DHEC, 3 doctors who do NOT authorize medical cannibas, 1 doctor board-certified in field of cannabinoid medince, 4 pharmacists (2 who dispense medical canabis and 2 who do not) and one parent of a minor patient.

3) Certifying Physicians: Only SC licensed MDs and DOs who treat qualifying debilitating physicians could certify patients for the program and they must register with DHEC.

4) Limitations: No smoking. No home growing. Purchase limits 14 days period

5) Therapeutic Cannabis Pharmacies: pharmacist must be present during dispensing hours. Must complete continuing ed.

6) Locations: Merit Based application process where DHEC licenses 15 cultivation centers, 30 processing facilities, 5 testing labs, 5 transporters and 1 therapeutic pharmacy for every 20 pharmacies in the state (about 65).

7) Protecting Children from Exposure: No appealing to minors. Packages cannot have cartoons, animals, children, etc. Cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school. DHEC will restrict advertising, etc.

Obviously the above is not all encompassing but it’s what stood out to me that I thought could help y’all know more about what the bill is about and what it does and doesn’t do.

As I told someone “the bill isn’t about approving people to roll a joint up outside their office if they are having a bad day”.