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Members of the South Carolina Senate gave final approval yesterday to legislation (SB 423: The Compassionate Care Act) to provide authorized patients access to certain medical cannabis products.

After several days of debate, Senators voted 24 to 19 to send the legislation to the House for further consideration. In 2022, House lawmakers refused to take up a similar bill.

Seventy-six percent of registered voters in South Carolina support medical cannabis access, according to polling data compiled last year by Winthrop University. South Carolina is one of only a dozen states that has yet to implement a comprehensive medical cannabis access program.

The Compassionate Care Act permits authorized patients with qualifying conditions to access to non-herbal formulations of medical cannabis products (such as oils, tinctures, and topical products) from licensed dispensaries (no more than three per county). Qualifying patients would not be permitted to home-cultivate cannabis, nor would they be protected from workplace drug testing requirements. The law would sunset five years after medical sales begin.

The bill’s sponsor has repeatedly described the legislation as “the most conservative medical cannabis bill in the country.”

South Carolina’s legislative session is set to run through early May.

Additional information of pending marijuana legislation is available from NORML’s Take Action Center.


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