Sen. Tom Davis introduced a new bill today that would establish a medical cannabis program for seriously ill patients in South Carolina. The text of Senate bill 366 is available here. Sen. Davis' office sent out a summary of the bill, and we have our own as well. Rep. Peter McCoy is expected to file his own version in the House soon.
You lawmakers need to hear from you. Click here to forward a message asking for support.
Sen. Davis and Rep. McCoy sponsored medical cannabis bills in 2018, and in many respects this year's effort will pick up where last year's left off. Measures in both chambers passed out of committee last year, but time ran out before floor votes could be taken. Given the groundwork laid since then, we hope to see a bill pass and be presented to the governor for his signature in 2019.
At the same time, there are signs of increasing support among members of the GOP. Members of the Charleston County GOP voted yesterday in support of a resolution asking the state legislature to adopt a medical cannabis measure for patients in South Carolina. Based on recent polling, 63% of Republicans in the state support such a program.
2019 could be the year patients finally get a program they deserve! Make sure your lawmakers hear from you, and please forward this message to friends, family, and supporters in South Carolina.
Lawmakers reconvening for 2019 legislative session. If you live in South Carolina, click here to voice your support for medical cannabis in South Carolina!
Lawmakers are reconvening this week in Columbia as the 2019 legislative session kicks off. Two bills have already been introduced that would establish a medical cannabis program, with more on the way. This could be a big year for patients seeking access to medical cannabis in the Palmetto State.
The two bills that have already been introduced, one by Rep. Rosalyn Henderson-Myers and another by Rep. J. Todd Rutherford, would both create programs that are similar in many ways to the medical cannabis laws in 32 other states and Washington, D.C. In addition, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, who sponsored legislation last year, are also expected to introduce their own legislation measures shortly. Similar bills passed out of the House and Senate committees last year, but didn't receive a floor vote before adjournment.
Make sure your lawmakers heard about a poll recently published by Benchmark Research, which found that 72% of South Carolinians, including 63% of Republicans, support providing access to medical cannabis for patients. Support is strong, and it's time to get it done.
Please forward this message to friends, family, and supporters in South Carolina.
South Carolina’s general election, set for Tuesday, November 6, is just 21 days away. The governor’s race and every House of Representatives seat is on the ballot. This is a particularly important election as lawmakers are expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill in 2019, and it will likely need the support of the governor. Those in office will have a huge impact on the future of South Carolina’s patients and their treatment options.
Our voter guide is now available online. It includes all House candidates who either co-sponsored the 2018 medical cannabis bill or who responded to our questionnaire on medical cannabis support. It also includes committee votes and the candidates for governor. While James Smith (D) is a strong supporter of allowing medical cannabis, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said he would not sign a bill unless law enforcement signs off — which they show no inclination of doing.
Voters’ choices this year will have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. If you are registered to vote, know where your candidates stand, and be sure to vote!
If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you have until October 17. For more information, including polling places and other key information, check out the state’s elections website here.
Voters using the Democratic ballot for yesterday’s South Carolina’s primary voted in support of medical marijuana by a whopping vote of 82-18%. This is an incredibly strong showing, and clearly voters are ready for this change. No doubt lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are taking notice.
Several candidates who support medical marijuana also did well. Congressional GOP candidate Katie Arrington, who supported this year’s medical cannabis bill as a House member, won her party’s primary with 51% of the vote, defeating incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford. Meanwhile, Democrat James Smith, a strong advocate for patients while serving in the House, won the primary contest for Democratic gubernatorial candidate with 62% of the vote.
In the state House races, supportive Republican lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Hill prevailed over his challenger. And challenger and supporter William Bailey won his contest against incumbent Rep. Greg Duckworth. On the Democrat side of the aisle, incumbent Reps. Leon Howard, Jerry Govan, Jr., and Cezar McKnight each prevailed against challengers.
Medical cannabis did well yesterday, as did many candidates who are supportive of change. For comprehensive election results, click here.
Review our South Carolina Voter Guide before casting your ballot.
South Carolina’s Primary Election Day is next Tuesday, June 12, and voters’ choices could have a huge impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Lawmakers will again consider legislation next year that would establish a compassionate medical cannabis program. South Carolinians should take a close look at whether candidates will stand up for patients.
We’ve done some of the work for you. We sent out a short questionnaire for candidates running for seats in the South Carolina House of Representatives and the governor’s office, and we’ve posted their responses here. Our voter guide also includes public comments from the gubernatorial candidates. For incumbent representatives, it also includes committee votes on medical cannabis (where applicable) and if they co-sponsored the bill.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary passed on May 13. For those who are registered, you can find more about Primary Day here, including where you can cast your ballot and when voting locations will be open.
If you are a resident of South Carolina, please forward this message to your networks so your family and friends can also make informed decisions, and be sure to vote! Let’s spread the word that South Carolina can join the dozens of states that have already adopted sensible, comprehensive, and compassionate medical cannabis programs.
The House version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, H 3521, emerged from committee today in a landslide 14-3 vote.
Unfortunately, a key deadline has passed, and it’s too late for the medical cannabis bill to become law this year. However, it’s important to remind lawmakers that patients and those who care for them are counting on their support.
There is much to be done before the bill becomes law, but today’s vote marks a big step forward for patients. Both the House and the Senate versions made it through their committees, and the bills were sent to the full bodies in both chambers.
Thank you to bill sponsors, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, and the many supporters who have been active behind the scenes and at the hearings, including those who attended an educational symposium for lawmakers yesterday evening.
If you are a South Carolina resident, please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support the Compassionate Care Act in the next legislative session.
CONGRESS — In March, MPP helped coordinate the congressional advocacy effort that succeeded in renewing the federal policy that prevents Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department from interfering in state medical marijuana programs. This is an extremely important protection for patients and caregivers across the country.
VERMONT — Years of MPP-led advocacy work in the Green Mountain State yielded a major victory in January, when the legislature became the first ever to enact a marijuana legalization law legislatively (as opposed to a ballot initiative). We continue to work in Vermont with the goal of passing a law next year that will allow regulated and taxed sales (the current law only allows possession and home cultivation).
SOUTH CAROLINA — MPP, working with allied patients and loved ones, is maintaining an aggressive push for medical marijuana in the state legislature. Our bill was recently sent to the Senate floor, and we now have majority support in the House, leaving us well-positioned for passage in 2019.
MASSACHUSETTS — After winning the 2016 ballot initiative campaign and defending the law from political interference in 2017, we have remained engaged in the year-long implementation process in the Bay State. MPP has also been pushing back against local marijuana business bans. As a result of MPP’s work in Massachusetts, the licensing process for marijuana businesses just started, and the first adult-use marijuana stores in New England will open later this year.
CONNECTICUT — Since last year, MPP has led the advocacy effort to legalize and regulate marijuana in Connecticut. Last Thursday, for the first time ever, a committee approved a legalization bill, sending it to the full House.
MPP is also playing a leading role in two ballot initiative campaigns:
There is no shortage of work ahead in 2018 but, with your support, MPP can and will continue to win. Thank you for your commitment to the Marijuana Policy Project mission.
The Senate’s version of the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act passed today in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. Lawmakers on the committee voted 8-6 in favor of sending the amended bill to the floor.
This is a tremendous step forward, but time is short for a vote by the full Senate. Lawmakers only have until April 10 to vote and send the bill to the House before time runs out this year.
The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, introduced last year by Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy, would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to access medical cannabis if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would regulate and license medical cannabis cultivation centers, processing facilities, dispensaries, and independent testing laboratories. The department would also issue registration cards to qualifying patients and their caregivers. Patients would not be able to smoke medical cannabis under the bill as amended by the committee. South Carolina would have one of the most carefully regulated programs in the country under this bill.
While it’s unlikely that the Senate will vote on S. 212 before the clock runs out, it’s crucial that senators hear from their constituents while the bill is on the floor. If the bill doesn’t pass this year, we can build momentum for next year.
If you are a South Carolina resident, please send an email to your senators asking them to support S. 212.
MPP, our allies, and supportive lawmakers have made tremendous strides this year gaining support for a sensible and compassionate medical marijuana program in South Carolina. However, while the vast majority of South Carolinians support allowing medical marijuana, and despite strong support in the House, it’s not clear if Speaker of the House Jay Lucas will attempt to prevent a floor vote.
H3521 was assigned to committee last year, and that group of lawmakers is now ready to advance the bill to the House floor for a key vote. But insiders tell us that Speaker Lucas might delay passage by sending the bill to another committee. If that happens, it is extremely unlikely the bill will advance further before time runs out.
If you are a South Carolina resident, please urge your representative to call for a floor vote on H3521 when it is returned to the full House, and to support passage.
MPP is excited to be moving into 2018 at a time when marijuana policy reform has unprecedented momentum. While there are sure to be challenges ahead, MPP is confident that we will make great strides this year.
You can find the strategic plan here.
In a great sign of things to come, one of our goals is already on the verge of success. On Thursday, the Vermont legislature passed a bill that would make possession and limited home cultivation legal in the Green Mountain State! The bill is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks.