The members of the subcommittee on Medical Affairs in the South Carolina Senate have decided to stall moving a medical cannabis bill forward to the full committee until all the concerns of the different stakeholders have been taken into account. This decision was made on Wednesday (February 27).
One of the proposed changes that may be made to the bill is to include language that makes it clear that smoking medical marijuana will be outlawed. Those interested in this wording say that nothing that may create an impression that marijuana is being legalized for anything other than medical use should be permitted in the bill.
Another issue that needs further consideration is the matter of the qualifying conditions which will be listed in the bill. The legislators want more time to be taken to study the different conditions which can be alleviated by the use of cannabis. Under the current bill, terminal or debilitating conditions, such as chronic diseases and cancer are currently listed as qualifying conditions. Could other deserving conditions have been left out? The legislators want to hear from stakeholders on this before moving forward.
The members of the subcommittee also want to hear more about the fiscal implications of the proposed six percent sales tax that will be imposed on the medical cannabis sold. Will that tax make medical cannabis too expensive for some patients to afford? Are there other ways to collect revenue from the industry without imposing a sales tax? Stakeholders need to inform the members on all these financial implications before the bill is sent to the whole committee.
In its present form, the bill will allow patients enrolled on the medical cannabis program to buy up to two ounces of cannabis (or its equivalent) once a fortnight as long as a doctor has prescribed it.
Representatives of the law enforcement agencies in the state, such as the Association of South Caroline Sheriffs, have said that they would like to review the bill in order to understand the details it contains and the implications of those details. The devil is always in the details, they say.
Such sentiments give further credence to the decision of the subcommittee to wait and hash out all the concerns of the stakeholders so that the bill forwarded to the whole committee reflects the input collected from everyone concerned.
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