Medical cannabis is a highly debated topic that is becoming a prominent issue in courts and the legal system.
As a form of medical treatment, there is still much uncertainty, unwillingness, and stigma attached to medical cannabis. Many people simply view it as a drug, and that its use should be abolished completely. Others, however, who recognize its benefits as a form of medication, and have seen how it can work first hand have a completely polarizing opinion. At the South Carolina statehouse, an important medical marijuana bill is due to be introduced and these differing opinions will surely be heard. Lawmakers, government officials, and activists will come together to discuss the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act and its potential implementation.
What is the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act?
This form of legislation will allow qualifying patients with specific medical conditions to have safe and controlled access to medical marijuana. This access and use will be regulated by the DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control), and a patient must have the recommendation and approval of their doctor. Registration cards will be issued to both patients and their careers and regular prescriptions will be formulated at cost.
The act has a strict set of guidelines and debilitating medical conditions that allow a patient to qualify for the program. Conditions that are deemed eligible include Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, autism, Parkinson’s disease and seizures to name a few. Aside from allowing patients access to cannabis, it will also give them legal protection from prosecution by the law and protection from unjust treatment.
Limitations on the purchase of medical cannabis are also imposed and it is stated that; “a patient or caregiver may purchase or possess no more than two ounces of dried cannabis per patient, per fourteen-day period”. This means that a patient cannot simply buy an unlimited amount of medication – Only what they medically require. Finally, it also outlines the production of medical cannabis and how this would be controlled by a tracking system and additional security measures.
Why is medical cannabis such a highly-debated topic?
Medical cannabis often results in highly charged debates from people who are either strongly opposed, or firmly in favor of the use of this drug as a form of treatment. Many people remain ignorant of the benefits of cannabis when used as a prescribed drug and simply see it as a form of a recreational drug. Those who see their family members suffering from debilitating conditions have an extremely different viewpoint and see marijuana as a necessity.
What implications will this act have on the population of South Carolina?
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act will have resounding implications for the those affected by debilitating conditions and their friends and families. For those who suffer from the qualifying diseases, it will mean untroubled access to the vital medication they need to help maintain their quality of life. It will save them from persecution, and save their parents and family members from the arduous task of traveling to different states in the attempt to legally source medical cannabis. They will have direct access to the treatment they require in a controlled and regulated environment.
What further implications will this bill have throughout the country?
Aside from the immediate implications, this act would have, there are also potential wider consequences. This will help highlight the valid need for medical cannabis, and the need to pass legislation in order for it to be controlled and regulated. This could be the start of further state acts and a change in the public’s perception of this form of medical treatment.