COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP, WCBD) – Some South Carolina faith leaders are showing their support for legislation to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for individuals with terminal, debilitating medical conditions.
A diverse group of clergy held a news conference Wednesday at the Statehouse in support of the Compassionate Care Act. The legislation introduced in the House and Senate has bipartisan backing and would allow patients to purchase up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana or its equivalent every two weeks if authorized by their doctor.
In a statement delivered to lawmakers Wednesday, the group said: “As clergy, we are committed to improving the lives of those around us through healing, mercy, and compassion. Therefore, we cannot remain silent while members of our community struggling with debilitating medical conditions are deprived of an effective treatment option.”
Baptist minister and Democratic Rep. Terry Alexander of Florence said legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana is not an issue of religion but providing relief to suffering patients.
“Our most afflicted and vulnerable neighbors need help, and many of them cannot wait much longer for relief. Enacting a compassionate medical cannabis law is the right thing to do, and now is the right time to do it,” he said.
“People struggling with serious illnesses and severe pain are our brothers and sisters,” said the Rev. Jeremy Rutledge of Charleston, who spoke at the news conference Wednesday. “Making medical marijuana available to them is a response of compassion and mercy. There is a religious element. It’s trying to help our neighbor.”
Members of the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee approved the bill. It now goes to the full committee.