S.C. veterans and patients deserve medical freedom
Please advocate for the S.C. Compassionate Care Act (S. 150) to get a House floor vote this week and vote “yes” on it.
This compassionate, well-regulated bill would provide relief to thousands of patients. Most are quietly suffering, afraid to speak out. One South Carolinian who has been brave enough to share her plight is Margaret Richardson (whose husband Scott Richardson served as a state senator). Her opinion piece, “SC patients deserve an option other than opioids or agony,” ran in the Post and Courier earlier this year.
Please read her story and have mercy on Mrs. Richardson and other patients (www.postandcourier.com/opinion/commentary/commentary-sc-patients-deserve-an-option-other-than-opioids-or-agony/article_4f1f16f4-7dde-11ec-91a4-134e35457019.html).
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.
Patients in our great state do not want to break the law but finding themselves with a choice between suffering and abiding state law puts them in an untenable position.
Will you please do everything in your power to ensure the S.C. Compassionate Care Act gets a vote this year?
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. Instead, we depend on you, our elected voices.
A February 2021 Starboard Communications poll found 72% of South Carolina voters support allowing medical cannabis. And an April 2022 Benchmark poll found 76% of Republican voters support “allowing patients who suffer from an approved list of conditions to have access to medical marijuana if approved by their doctor.”
When conservative states, such as Utah, Mississippi, and Alabama, have enacted well-regulated medical cannabis programs, why has the S.C. House thwarted the will of the people in our state?
Will you please work to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act in 2022? Patients battling serious medical conditions have already been dealt a tough hand. They should not 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.
Support medical freedom; 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. This is the most restrictive bill in the country. It does not allow smoking or cannabis in plant form, and cannabis would be dispensed from specialty pharmacies. Since his bill was first introduced, several other states — including Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Utah — have passed compassionate care laws.
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 cannabis to keep up their appetites as they battled cancer or tried to quell devastating seizures.
I hope you agree it’s past time South Carolina provides relief to suffering patients. Please do everything you can to ensure the S.C. Compassionate Care Act receives a vote and passes this year.
Patients 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.
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 the highest level of evidence (“conclusive” or “substantial”) that medical cannabis helps chronic pain.
Yet, 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. On February 9, the Senate voted 28-15 to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act. Can I count on you to work to pass S. 150 this year?
Why is South Carolina so behind the times 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 14,000 Americans die each year from prescription opiates. Large numbers of Americans suffer intense pain. A 2018 survey found 32% of Americans had been prescribed opiates in the past two years!
Why is South Carolina pushing patients and doctors to this far more harmful option?
The S.C. Compassionate Care Act (S. 150) passed the Senate in a nearly 2:1 vote that included several of the most conservative senators. Can I count on you to work to pass the S.C. Compassionate Care Act in the House this year, to bring this medical freedom to South Carolina?
Medical cannabis deserves a floor vote this year
I am writing to ask you to do everything you can to ensure the S.C. Compassionate Care Act finally receives an up-or-down House floor vote and to ask you to vote “yes” on it.
Our current laws are out-of-step with voters, morality, and other states. While 37 other states allow medical cannabis (including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi), South Carolina continues to force the seriously ill to live in fear of arrest if they use a natural medication that is much safer than opioids and many other prescriptions.
Even as more than 70% of S.C. voters — and three-quarters of Republicans — support medical cannabis, the S.C. House of Representatives has failed to give the bill a vote year after year. It has been seven long years since the Compassionate Care Act was first introduced. It has been improved and refined, and it is long past time that it gets a vote.
Please do all you can to finally get S. 150 a vote. Stand up for suffering veterans and their loved ones. We deserve medical freedom.
Will you do everything you can to get S. 150 a floor vote?
For seven years, we’ve seen news stories of veterans, children with seizure disorders, and other South Carolinians who are suffering needlessly because we don’t have a medical cannabis law in our state. At the same time, Sen. Davis has painstakingly worked with his colleagues to address every concern and incorporate them into his highly restrictive S.C. Compassionate Care Act.
At long last, the bill passed the Senate in a nearly 2-1 vote back in February. I am distressed that nearly three months later, the House has still not brought the bill to a vote. Will you please do all you can to ensure S. 150 gets a vote and passes this year?
Voters overwhelmingly support this compassionate, carefully crafted bill.