South Carolina lawmakers pre-filed four marijuana-related bills on Tuesday, including two that would establish comprehensive medical cannabis programs in the state.
Currently, there are only legal protections for a small class of South Carolina patients to use cannabidiol, or CBD. But the new legislation that’s being introduced for 2019 by Reps. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers (D) and J. Todd Rutherford (D) would allow a wider range of patients to possess and consume marijuana and permit licensed shops to cultivate and dispense the plant.
Henderson-Myers’s bill would also require dispensaries to “contract with laboratories for testing of marijuana.”
Separately, a pre-filed bill from Rep. Ivory Thigpen (D) would amend state law to decriminalize possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or 10 grams of hashish. Instead of a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine, possession of that amount would be a civil infraction.
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Rutherford also pre-filed a separate piece of decriminalization legislation, but his proposed policy would only apply to military veterans who were honorably discharged and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) “arising from the veteran’s duty in an area that the president of the United States designated by executive order as an area in which United States armed forces are engaging or have engaged in combat.”
Qualifying veterans would legally allowed to possess up to an ounce of cannabis or ten grams of hashish under the bill.
“We are excited to see lawmakers increasingly engaged in this issue in South Carolina, and it reflects the strong support medical cannabis has among voters in the state,” Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel at the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment.
“Its past time lawmakers and the governor adopt a program for seriously ill patients who qualify, and we think there will be majority support in both chambers in 2019.”
Lawmakers in states across the country have started pre-filing marijuana bills ahead of upcoming legislative sessions. That includes bills to allow students to use medical cannabis in schools in Washington state and Virginia and to fully legalize cannabis in Missouri and Texas.