Medical marijuana bills being discussed at the Statehouse under - FOX Carolina 21

Medical marijuana bills being discussed at the Statehouse under "Compassionate Care Act"

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COLUMBIA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

It's legislation making its way through both chambers of the South Carolina Legislature.  Two sister bills; one in the House, and one in the Senate.  They make up "The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act."

It would make medical cannabis available under strict guidelines to those who qualify.  Supporters believe, this is the year medical marijuana could be legalized in the state.

April Pace's daughter Dixie suffers from uncontrollable seizures.  The family uses cannabidiol oil to treat the seizures, but it's a very small amount and April is afraid as her 20 year old daughter gets older, that won't be enough.  So she's putting her hopes in some new legislation this year.

"When there is something out there that can give her a chance why can't I use it?"

The bills, S212 in the Senate and H3521 in the House, would allow those with certain medical conditions to use medical cannabis in different forms.  Representative Jonathon Hill from Anderson County is one of the bill's sponsors.

"The more I've learned about this, the more I've realized there's credible scientific evidence that this is something that can benefit people."

The bills put in place restrictions.  You'd have to qualify because of a debilitating medical condition, like cancer, seizures or PTSD.
And a doctor would have to provide a written recommendation.  There would also be rules about how much cannabis a patient could have, and who is growing and buying it.  They'd also have to get a registration card through DHEC.

Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller is not in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. He is the current president of the South Carolina Police Chiefs Association and says other chiefs in the state feel the same way.

"It is something we believe will affect public safety, will result in higher rates of crime, drug dependency, easy access and black markets that will emerge more than they are now.  And it will all be disguised under a veil of legitimacy."

On Wednesday in Columbia, a group of physicians, nurses, medical researchers, and other healthcare professionals will be at a subcommittee hearing, to testify in support of the legislation.

That will happen at 3pm in the Statehouse, during the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee hearing. 

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