COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A group of South Carolinians, many with serious medical conditions, gathered at the Statehouse on Tuesday to call on lawmakers to pass a comprehensive medical cannabis bill.
Advocates urged state Senators to promptly hold a floor vote on The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S. 150), a bill that would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions and a doctor’s certification to access medical cannabis from regulated facilities.
The Senate Medical Affairs Committee voted in favor of the bill last week, sending it to the full Senate for discussion and vote.
This is the last week that the Senate can pass the bill in time for the legislature’s crossover deadline.
Speakers at Tuesday’s event included three Lowcountry residents; Judy Ghanem of Murrells Inlet, the mother of a severely disabled autistic daughter; Jill Swing of Charleston, executive director of the S.C. Compassionate Care Alliance and mother of a daughter with a severe seizure disorder; and Cody L. Callerman of Goose Creek, a Marine Corps veteran and South Carolina hemp farmer who legally used cannabis for pain and PTSD when living in California.
Senator Tom Davis (R ), who sponsored the bill, and cosponsor, Sen. Stephen Goldfinch (R ), both attended the press conference.
“I have been coming to Columbia to advocate for the legalization for medical cannabis for my daughter, Mary Louise, for seven long years; that’s over half her life. But, as a mom, I’ll never give up on my daughter, and I’ll never, ever give up fighting for access to medicine I’ve seen firsthand greatly improve her quality of life,” said Jill Swing, executive director of the S.C. Compassionate Care Alliance.
“We urgently implore our representatives to listen to their minds and hearts and pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act. This conservative bill reflects years of fine-tuning to address all legitimate concerns and ensure a limited, medical program. S. 150 will enable seriously ill South Carolinians to live a better quality of life and positively contribute to their communities,” said Judy Ghanem of Murrells Inlet, mother of a severely disabled autistic daughter.
“We have always been told our county is the land of the free and home of the brave. And I stand by that. We were the brave ones, so now is the time to give us our freedom of choice of treatment,” said Cody L. Callarman, a Marine Corps veteran who lives in Goose Creek.
More than 30 states across the country have comprehensive medical cannabis programs, including several Southern states, such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia.