2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

South Carolina’s Lawmakers did nothing in the past year to advance cannabis access for their constituents. The few patients in South Carolina who do qualify are still stuck with CBD oils, if they can get them at all since there is no access to state licensed retailers who sell safe lab tested products. There are a few key steps lawmakers can take to expand access to medical cannabis in their state. They can start by removing arbitrary caps on THC levels in authorized cannabis products to allow for more effective treatment. Legislators should also seek to cover patients with a diversity of health conditions through significant expansion of the state’s list of conditions eligible for cannabis treatment. ASA also encourages immediately implementing statutory protections for patients related to housing, employment, education, and parental rights. Legislators in South Carolina should consider creating a stringent set of product safety standards, and a system of third-party labs to test the safety of products. Finally, authorizing a licensing system to support cultivation and sale of in-state medical cannabis and related products to patients is a basic requirement for medical cannabis access, but legislators should also consider permitting patients and caregivers to cultivate cannabis at home for medical use. Ideally, caregivers should even have the option to become retailers themselves or to sell products tested for safety by a third-party laboratory to retailers for consumption by patients. Such a system would offer patients a greater variety of options to treat their condition, and address cost challenges cannabis patients face due to the lack of insurance coverage of cannabis products.