South Carolina Cannabis Bill to Receive Special Hearing this Week

A measure to permit medicinal cannabis in South Carolina will get emphasized status and be taken up on superior order this week, the measure’s backer expressed at a demonstration in the state Capitol last week.

Sen. Tom Davis, a Republican of South Carolina, revealed that he’s talked to Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R) about his measure, the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, and received a pledge that it would be “one of the very first things we take up” in the South Carolina chamber this legislative session.

Notably, he expressed that there was an understanding to review the legislation on special instructions, which indicates that once it is heard, senators will have to vote on the cannabis measure before they move forward with any other component of the legislation.

Davis delivered an emotional sermon at the demonstration alongside patients and cannabis reform advocates. He carried out a gigantic binder that he stated contains eight years of investigation into the matter that he will utilize to “take on every single dispute that has been raised in opposition to this measure, and I’m going to reveal that they cannot stand in the way of validities and proof.”

He also stated that he’s talked to House Speaker Jay Lucas (R), who approved that if the measure progresses through the Senate, he will “allow the measure to go through the House of Representatives process.”

“I fully anticipate that, given those promises, that we’re going to be standing here in four or five months celebrating a measure signing with [Gov. McMaster] to ultimately make us not one of the 14 states that decline to acknowledge medication, but one of the 37 states that have acknowledged it,” Davis shared.

While Davis earlier stated in May that he was dissatisfied that the legislation wasn’t considered on the Senate floor before the end of the 2021 session and after unplugging the Senate Medical Affairs Committee that Spring, he’s been motivated by administration making pledges to move the measure this year.

The senator has been a strong champion for his legislation, going so far as to imply the use of his power to block additional measures from progressing if the senator’s reform draft was stopped.

As proposed, the measure would allow patrons with authorizing conditions to own and buy up to two ounces of cannabis every two weeks.

For the primary rollout, regulators would permit 15 licenses for cannabis businesses that maintain production, allocation, and retail. More than 100 dispensaries would be permitted to operate under the new South Carolina cannabis measure.

To that decree, Davis noted at last week’s meetup that this is a very red reform bill that is even more restricted than medicinal cannabis legislation that extended out of the Mississippi Senate a week prior.

Patients and cannabis reform advocates also emerged alongside the legislator at the meetup.

“We are relying on our legislators to hear to the many voices of patients who, similar to my daughter, require a safer, more practical alternative to opioids and additional debilitating drugs and enact the Compassionate Care Act NOW!” Jill Swing, administrative director of the S.C. Compassionate Care Alliance, expressed in a press statement.

Candace Carroll, South Carolina director at Americans for Prosperity South Carolina, revealed that Davis’ measure would mean that South Carolina could “guarantee more patients access the most transformative remedies and lower the harms introduced by a strong illegal cannabis market.”

A survey released in 2021 revealed that South Carolina voters support legalizing medicinal cannabis by a ratio of five to one. Despite this, the state does not have a citizen-led initiative process that has empowered voters in other states to enact the policy change.

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