COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – On Tuesday, South Carolina medical professionals joined together on a virtual press conference to call on the South Carolina General Assembly in hopes to enact a Comprehensive Medical Cannabis Program in 2021. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S. 150/ H. 3361) has been in the work for nearly a decade and would allow specified patients to access medicinal cannabis from certified doctors.

Representatives on the call said it’s beyond time, and for some, like Representative Bill Herbkersman, it’s personal. The representative said for his middle brother, treatment with medical cannabis meant a higher quality of life when fighting Spindle Cell Carcinoma.

From a pain aspect, he was able to do pain management, through medical use of cannabis but just as importantly, is that he was wasting away. He had no appetite and could eat, and this was one way he was starting to be treated with cannabis. He uh, he got his appetite back.

Rep. Bill Herbkersman, 118th District

The representative said ultimately it was the cannabis that helped his brother to live longer. He acknowledged that like him, he believes many others have their own personal stories of their loved ones overcoming pain with medicinal marijuana.

The online presser was more than personal accounts. It included doctors serving throughout the state and even in the Lowcountry hoping for a different route in treatment to be allowed.

Dr. Jamelah Lemon, the President of the South Carolina Podiatric Medical Association, said she has seen cannabis to have been ‘proven in instrumental in naturally treating the pain as well as dependents on other traditional prescription drugs’. Dr. Lemon went on in stating that from Diabetic Neuropathy to post op recovery, many are frustrated and tired of either being on narcotics or NSAIDs.

Even more, Dr. Lemon said that many of her patients are also they are worried about drug interactions or have been openly fearful of getting addiction dependencies. 

Other doctors on the call added that some patients have turned to self-medicating, and this bill would ensure they could use medical cannabis in a more controlled manner.

You’re going to assure that our patients have a safe product to use and also that they will have an effective product to use. Right now, if they are buying it off of the streets, they are not really as to if it’s been tainted.

Dr. Monnie Singleton, MD, Orangeburg SC

If this pre-filed bill were to move forward, South Carolina would join thirty-six other states across the country that currently have a Comprehensive Medical Cannabis Program.