COLUMBIA – The medical marijuana debate is back at the South Carolina Statehouse and the Senate medical committee chairman wants a “redo.”
The latest iteration of legislation to legalize and regulate the prescription of cannabis to treat the symptoms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism and other debilitating diseases is currently stuck in the Senate.
Proponents are pushing for a vote early in the legislative session, which begins Tuesday.
Speaking to a room full of reporters a day ahead of the session, Senate Medical Affairs Chairman Danny Verdin was forceful in calling for senators to take it up and pass it. The Laurens Republican, while sitting beside one of the bill’s staunchest opponents, said he’d be “sorely disappointed” if the Senate left it to languish on the calendar.
“I’m committed to a medicinal cannabis program that is for the health and well-being of South Carolinians,” Verdin said.
Last February, Verdin successfully pushed for the bill to skip his committee and go straight to the Senate calendar for floor debate. And that’s where it’s been stuck. The objections of two Republicans have since blocked senators from considering it.
Sen. Tom Davis, who’s led a nine-year effort to legalize marijuana for medical use, hopes 2024 is the year it finally passes. For years, he’s tried to tweak the bill to address the opposition of law enforcement, led by State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark…