A South Carolina bill would legalize medical marijuana in the state, effectively rejecting the federal prohibition on the same.
Introduced by State Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-74), House Bill 3140 (H3140) sets up a state regulatory regime that would allow medical marijuana to make its way into the hands of the sick, something that federal law says is illegal.
Under H3140, qualifying patients would be allowed to apply for a medical marijuana registry card effective for one year. A patient would qualify if medical marijuana is found “medically necessary to address a debilitating medical condition.”
The bill would set limits for the amount a patient could possess, two ounces and six plants, while protecting patients, physicians, and caregivers, from state prosecution through an affirmative defense.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control would create a confidential registry of patients who had applied. Anyone who disclosed patient information from this registry, including public employees and local law enforcement, would be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a five hundred dollars fine and/or six months imprisonment.
Although it draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, H3140 marks an enormous step in the right direction for cannabis rights advocates in the state of South Carolina. The top-down federal mandates that have failed for so many decades are being replaced with a more decentralized, compassionate approach that is responsive to the needs of the people.
Activists should embrace any opportunity that they have to make it more difficult for people to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. The end of the federal drug war is on its way whether detractors like it or not. Measures like H3140 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal!
HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL
If you live in the state of South Carolina, take steps to support this bill HERE.
If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to H3140 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.