Proponents of the medicinal use of cannabis in South Carolina praised the results of a new poll that confirmed its popularity with registered voters. However, opponents of legalization said the poll had increased the underlying lack of public awareness of the issue.
Which side is right?
Let’s look at the dates first …
An incredible success, according to a survey by Starboard Communications – a Republican consulting firm based in Lexington, SC 72 percent of South Carolina residents supported the “legalization of cannabis for medical purposes” versus just 15 percent who opposed such a political position.
These numbers are in line with previous surveys on the subject …
“The results of this poll confirm what proponents have known for years – that the vast majority of South Carolinians support a compassionate medical cannabis program,” he said Judy Ghanem of Murrells Inlet, SC “Voters understand that medical cannabis can bring life-changing relief and that the law shouldn’t get in the way.”
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Ghanem’s daughter Kira (above) has a rare genetic disorder that has been shown to be effective when treated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
“My daughter and thousands of other South Carolinians deserve the right to the same medical option that is now legal in thirty-six states,” Ghanem continued. “It is time for lawmakers to listen to the voters and pass the SC Compassionate Care Act to stop unnecessary suffering.”
Ghanem’s perspective was to repeat Jill Swing of SC Compassionate Care Alliance.
“Time and again, surveys show that the South Carolinians strongly support the legalization of medical cannabis,” said Swing. “These dates seem to fall on deaf ears, however, as the General Assembly continues to push the can on this important issue. In the meantime, patient frustration has grown as they continue to experience debilitating symptoms and watch as more states across the country pass compassionate laws. Serious illnesses are not tied to the zip code and should not be alleviated. “
Swings daughter – Mary Louise Swing – Was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy before she was two years old and had between 800 and 1,200 seizures daily. She has also found relief from THC-based drugs.
The starboard poll, conducted for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), polled 801 registered voters in South Carolina between February 16-19, 2021. According to the MPP, the survey found “more than two-thirds support in all four regions” of Palmetto State – including the socially conservative Upstate.
Will it move the needle in lawmakers?
Mark KeelThe head of the SC State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was the loudest opponent of the currently drafted bills for medical cannabis – p. 150 and H.3361. His objections have prevailed with the governor of the SC Henry McMaster – who has vowed to veto a medical cannabis bill if you reach his desk.
“We see these polls all the time,” Keel told our founding editor Will folks this week. “They are all being asked to get the results they want.”
According to Keel, the latest poll actually showed a slight deterioration in support for medical cannabis legalization.
“I’m happy to see this poll as of 2016 that there are six percent fewer South Carolina people who support legalized marijuana,” said Keel.
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From the start of this debate, Keel (above) has argued that he cannot support the legalization of cannabis until it has been approved for medical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“If it’s really FDA cleared, prescribed by a doctor, and bought at the pharmacy, I’ll be there,” he said.
Says Keel, “Most people don’t know what ‘medical marijuana’ is – they think it’s something you can get a prescription for from a doctor and get it filled at a pharmacy.”
However, this is not the case – which Keel believes is dangerous in an unregulated market.
“There is no consistency in the product, there is no one to test for THC levels. So you don’t know what potency you’re getting and you don’t have a doctor who will prescribe a certain amount,” said Keel. “There is no unit dose and there is no specific analysis of the percentage of THC people actually receive.”
“We continue to see flowers and buds at 30 percent THC, wax and ‘slivers’ at 60 and 70 percent – but it can be up to ninety percent,” Keel continued. “The law we’re talking about doesn’t regulate the percentage of THC.”
Keel also expressed concern that proponents would continue to advocate laws that would allow users to supposedly consume medicinal cannabis either through smoking or vaping.
“Here we are with Covid-19 – a lung disease, a lung disease – and one of those bills allows smoking and another allows vaping,” he said. “Neither is the way you take medication. If they got it in a pill format and you knew exactly what was in it, that would be one thing. “
Our founding editor’s views on marijuana legalization have also been consistent for years: he supports legalization (including legalizing recreational activities) as a freedom and economic issue – although he has recognized the necessary limits of such a policy.
A recent study also found that the advertised economic benefits may be less than expected.
However, this is a decision that should be left to consenting adults … much like the decision to consume alcohol. With the same accountability for those decisions.
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