COLUMBIA (WACH) - The "Put Patients First Act," legislation was filed Thursday by House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford. This would to allow for the use of medical marijuana in South Carolina. It would authorize a person who has a "debilitating medical condition", such as cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV and AIDS, Cachexia, Epilepsy, and Multiple Sclerosis and has a medical verification form completed by a physician to register with DHEC to register for an identification card to use medical marijuana.
The bill also authorizes certain persons to act as caregivers for patients under limited circumstances as well as the operation of dispensaries to cultivate, grow, and dispense marijuana for medical purposes. Registered caregivers 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. It would also be subjet to sales tax.
Rep. Rutherford says, " The time has come to put aside archaic misconceptions of medical marijuana and put patients first. 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."