South Carolina Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Medical Marijuana

ROCK HILL, S.C. – Medical marijuana could become legal in South Carolina. Lawmakers have re-introduced a bill called the “Compassionate Care Act.”

“I want a bill that allows doctors to put medicine in the hands of patients who desperately need it,” said South Carolina Senator Tom Davis.

A pair of Republican lawmakers are behind the bill. Advocates say it could be life-changing for those suffering from severe illnesses.

That includes people like Mack Hudson, who got into a car wreck at 16-years-old, and is paralyzed from the waist down.

“I broke, fractured my skull, fractured my neck, and I shattered my back,” Hudson explains.

He says he lives with excruciating pain.

“The doctors ask me on a pain scale of one to ten, I tell them I can take like three or four oxycodones and I’d still be in pain,” Hudson says.

After the bill didn’t pass last year, lawmakers have added stricter guidelines.

People won’t be able to smoke marijuana but would be limited to items like oils, creams, and gel caps.

Patients would have to have a “bona fide” relationship with their doctor approving the marijuana, and people between 18 and 23 years old would have to get the go-ahead from two doctors.

“It is, I am confident to say, the most strictly-regulated, socially conservative medical cannabis bill in the United States,” Davis said.

The bill raises some concerns though for drug counselors.

“Most of the people that have used stronger drugs such heroine, cocaine, meth, and all those other things that we see here on a daily basis.. they have also used marijuana,” explains Danielle Center, with Keystone Substance Abuse Services in Rock Hill.

She says while it’s hard to prove one drug is a gateway to another, they often go hand-in-hand.

“Our stance is always that if it is medicine, it should go through the FDA process like any other medicine in our country,” Center says.