Thursday, April 10, 2014
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia) filed legislation to allow for the use of medical marijuana in South Carolina. Rutherfords' bill, otherwise known as the "Put Patients First Act," would authorize a person who has a "debilitating medical condition" who has a medical verification form completed by a physician to register with DHEC to obtain a registry identification card to use medical marijuana. Examples of debilitating medical conditions would include cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV and AIDS, Cachexia, Epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis.
The bill also authorizes certain persons to act as caregivers for patients under limited circumstances as well as provides for the operation of dispensaries to cultivate, grow, and dispense marijuana for medical purposes.
Registered individuals would be allowed to possess up to six plants (3 mature) and two ounces of marijuana for medical use.
The bill also provides penalties for committing fraud in order to illegally obtain medical marijuana and defines it as a tangible item, therefore subjecting it to sales tax.
"The time has come to put aside archaic misconceptions of medical marijuana and put patients first," said Rep. Rutherford. "I hear devastating stories every single day from people who are battling epilepsy or suffering from a brain tumor who desperately need medical marijuana to treat the debilitating symptoms. I want to help these people and the government should not be a barrier for them to get the medical services they need. Medical marijuana has been legal in South Carolina for three decades but the state has refused to initiate the process of allowing patients to obtain it and for licensed professionals to grow it. I refuse to let these people suffer any longer - it's time to move forward and put the health of our citizens ahead of politics."
South Carolina House Democratic Caucus
Third Vice Chair, SC Democratic Party