Lawmakers should back medical marijuana bill

Nearly half of the states have approved the medical use of marijuana, as prescribed by a physician, recognizing its therapeutic value for patients with long term pain from cancer, seizures, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other ailments.

Not South Carolina, though. Not yet.

Members of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on Thursday expressed their sympathy for those South Carolinians who could benefit from having marijuana medically prescribed for pain or nausea.

Then they voted to kill the bill, after first rejecting an amendment that would have resolved many of the issues raised by those who had opposed the bill, including law enforcement officials.

The amendment would have tightened licensing and oversight for cultivation, distribution and sales.

Committee chairman Harvey Peeler’s explanation?

“This bill would put us one step closer to Colorado.”

No, it wouldn’t.

Colorado is one of four states, plus Washington, D.C., that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. In each case that was done as the result of a voter initiative or referendum.

South Carolina voters don’t have the option of voter initiative, and even if they did, the notion that such an ill-advised proposal would be approved by the largely conservative voters of this state is nothing short of ludicrous.

What the medical marijuana bill would do is put South Carolina a step closer to the majority view that those who are ill should have broad medical options available for their relief.

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