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EDITORIAL: Marijuana for treatment should be option
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EDITORIAL: Marijuana for treatment should be option

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Opinions have changed markedly regarding marijuana, with a number of states having legalized recreational use. While there is sentiment for such in South Carolina, don't look for legalization anytime soon.

But the time has come for South Carolina lawmakers to take action on the use of marijuana for prescribed medical purposes.

On Monday, a group of veterans joined together to call for enactment of a comprehensive medical cannabis program in 2021. South Carolina thereby would join 36 states across the country with such a law, including several Southern states, such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia.

A poll by Starboard Communications shows 72% of South Carolina residents support the veterans' position, with only 15% opposed.

“The results of this poll reinforce what advocates have known for years — that the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians support a compassionate medical cannabis program. Voters understand that medical cannabis can provide life-changing relief, and that the law should not stand in the way,” said Judy Ghanem of Murrells Inlet, whose daughter Kira has a rare genetic disorder.

“My daughter and thousands of other South Carolinians deserve the right to the same medical option that is now legal in 36 states. It is past time lawmakers listen to voters and adopt the S.C. Compassionate Care Act to stop needless suffering.”

The poll surveyed 801 registered South Carolina voters from Feb. 16-19. Notably, it found more than two-thirds support in all four regions: Upstate, Midlands, Lowcountry and Pee Dee.

The results come as legislation to legalize medical cannabis gains momentum in the legislature. In January, lawmakers introduced The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S. 150/H. 3361), which would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions and a doctor’s certification to access medical cannabis from regulated facilities.

It's important to note a law wouldn't require doctors to prescribe medical marijuana law; it would simply give them the option. In treating South Carolinians suffering from painful or debilitating conditions, doctors should have that option.

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