We are not criminals but patients who need relief
I am writing to implore you to listen to suffering South Carolinians who have been placed in an impossible position and to act to protect them. On February 9, 2022, the Senate voted 28-15, and on February 10 the Senate passed on third reading by a voice vote for final passage, the S.C. Compassionate Care Act. I urge you to join your colleagues in the Senate and pass this legislation expeditiously. Also, please ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote on this bill as quickly as possible.
Margaret Richardson (whose husband Scott Richardson served as a state senator) has explained how her devastating medical condition leaves her writhing in pain and has often made her a prisoner in her room. Eventually, she tried medical cannabis at a friend’s suggestion, and it provided life-changing relief from excruciating pain, allowing her to be an active grandma again. But our state’s laws force her to “creep around like a criminal.”
Listen to Mrs. Richardson’s story here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=oieyifJItRY
As a South Carolina lawmaker, you have the power to give Mrs. Richardson and other South Carolinians relief. It is cruel and heartless to brand her a criminal and force her to get her medicine from the unregulated and illicit market. That illicit market will continue to thrive in the absence of a well-regulated medical cannabis program.
Patients in our great state do not want to break the law but finding the choice between suffering and abiding state law puts them in an untenable position. With your vote, you can show compassion and allow fellow citizens to have the freedom to make their own personal medical choices.
Will you please support the S.C. Compassionate Care Act?
Why is S.C. so behind the curve on medical cannabis?
In 37 other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah, seriously ill patients can use medical cannabis with their doctors’ approval. Why not here?
It makes no sense that our doctors aren’t trusted to recommend medical cannabis and instead must prescribe far more dangerous medications. No one has died of a cannabis overdose, but more than 145,000 Americans die each year from prescription opiates. Why is South Carolina pushing patients and doctors to the far more harmful option?
On February 9, 2022, the Senate voted 28-15 on second reading and by a voice vote on third reading for final passage of the S.C. Compassionate Care Act. Please ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote on the bill as quickly as possible. Can I count on you to support the S.C. Compassionate Care Act to bring this medical freedom to South Carolina?
Veterans served our country; we ask that you stand with them
South Carolina’s criminalization of medical cannabis is particularly shocking in the context of veterans. Men and women, who risked their lives for our country, have been jailed for treating the physical and mental wounds they developed while protecting our freedoms. Twenty-two veterans die by their own hand every day. Many veterans in our community face the side effects of a VA system that overly relies on opiates, antidepressants, and other pharmaceuticals. We are asking you to allow veterans the medical freedom to choose medical cannabis if they, and their doctors, feel it is the best option to treat their wounds.
The Senate voted to pass this legislation 28-15 on February 9, 2022 and by a voice vote for final passage the following day. Please ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote on this bill as quickly as possible. Will you please work to pass the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act in 2022?
It’s past time to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act!
Sen. Tom Davis has been working on the S.C. Compassionate Care Act for more than seven years, seeking input and making revisions to address concerns. Since his bill was first introduced, several other states — including Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah — have passed compassionate care laws. On February 9, 2022, the Senate voted 28-15 on second reading and by a voice vote on third reading for final passage of S. 150. I ask you to pass it as well. Please also ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, thousands of South Carolinians have needlessly suffered when cannabis could have brought them relief. Others uprooted and left their support networks to move to more compassionate states. Still others have died, sometimes sooner than they would have if they had access to cannabis to keep up their appetites as they battled cancer or to quell devastating seizures.
I hope you agree it’s past time South Carolina provides relief to suffering patients. The S.C. Compassionate Care Act deserves your support.
Voters overwhelmingly support the S.C. Compassionate Care Act
South Carolina voters would pass medical cannabis legislation in a heartbeat if we were given the chance to do so. On February 9, 2022, the Senate voted 28-15 to pass this legislation and by a voice vote for final passage on February 10, 2022.
A February 2021 Starboard Communications poll found 72% of South Carolina voters support allowing medical cannabis. But unlike about half of the states in the country, we have no voter initiative process and must rely on our lawmakers to do what is right. When conservative states, such as Utah, Alabama, and Mississippi, have recently approved well-regulated medical cannabis programs, why must we continue to resist the will of the people in our state?
Please work to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act in 2022. Please also ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote on the bill as quickly as possible. Patients battling serious medical conditions have already been dealt a tough hand. They should not have to be criminalized for using a medicine that works. South Carolina should not steer its suffering patients to highly addictive and often deadly opiates when a far safer natural remedy has been shown to be effective.
We deserve other options to alleviate suffering
Thousands of South Carolinians live with untreated and undertreated chronic pain. Some pain patients turn to opiates, which pose a significant risk for addiction and death, along with serious side effects. Others use significant amounts of over-the-counter medicines long term, despite the risks of internal stomach bleeding, stroke, and heart, kidney, and liver problems. The news is filled every day with stories about the overdose crisis in our country. In many cases, people are having pain medications lowered or stopped even when they are still suffering from chronic pain. So many will live with this pain for the rest of their lives and seek relief from their agony from illegal narcotics fueling the overdose epidemic. When will this vicious cycle end?
A far safer option — medical cannabis — is legal in 37 states, including several in the South. The National Academy of Sciences reviewed thousands of abstracts and studies and found there is “conclusive” or “substantial” evidence that medical cannabis helps chronic pain. On February 9, 2022, the Senate voted 28-15 on second reading and by a voice vote on February 10, 2022 for final passage on The S.C. Compassionate Care Act. I urge you to work to pass this legislation in the House of Representatives. Please also ask the Speaker of the House to schedule a committee hearing and floor vote on the bill as quickly as possible.
Our state continues to threaten suffering patients with jail. Due to our archaic laws, patients’ only source of cannabis is the illicit market, with all the risks that entails from hazardous pesticides and molds to the possibility of violence and muggings. Please end this madness. Support the S.C. Compassionate Care Act in 2022.