South Carolina Lawmakers Pre-File Bills to Legalize Medical Cannabis
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South Carolina Lawmakers Pre-File Bills to Legalize Medical Cannabis

The legislature is expected to consider multiple pieces of cannabis-related legislation next year.

December 14, 2020

South Carolina lawmakers have pre-filed bills in both the House and the Senate to legalize medical cannabis, according to The State.

The bills, both called the “South Carolina Compassionate Care Act,” mirror legislation that was considered during the 2019 legislative session, when the Senate ultimately pushed a vote on the issue to 2020.

The legislation did not resurface this year, however, as the legislative session was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, the State Law Enforcement Division and the S.C. Medical Association have opposed medical cannabis legalization, The State reported, arguing that South Carolina should hold off on legalization until cannabis is recognized and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gov. Henry McMaster has said he will veto legislation to legalize medical cannabis as long as it is opposed by law enforcement, according to the news outlet.

While the medical cannabis debate rages on, lawmakers in the South Carolina House and Senate have also pre-filed bills that would legalize adult-use, The State reported. Sen. Mia McLeod has introduced legislation that would allow adults 21 and older to possess and use cannabis, and would also establish a system to license cannabis businesses.

Another bill sponsored by Sen. Margie Bright Matthews would place an adult-use legalization measure on South Carolina’s 2022 ballot, according to the news outlet.

More than 30 Democrats have sponsored a separate bill in the House, which would decriminalize the possession of 28 grams of cannabis or less, The State reported.