Legislators hope 2017 is the year for medical pot in SC

BY BRISTOW MARCHANT

bmarchant@thestate.com

Dixie Pace, 18, has benefited from cannabidiol oil, which has reduced the amount of seizures she has and the amount of medications she takes. Pace and her mother April Pace were at a State House rally to legalize medical marijuana on Wednesday, May 20. mwalsh@thestate.com

S.C. legislators are gearing up for another fight over a bill that would allow the legal use of medical marijuana in the Palmetto State.

A half-dozen lawmakers Tuesday made their first order of business on the session’s opening day the unveiling of the S.C. Compassionate Care Act.

The bill would allow South Carolinians with “debilitating medical conditions” to use medical pot, when approved by a doctor.

Last year, bipartisan efforts to legalize medical marijuana died in House and Senate committees. That effort was opposed by law enforcement officials, who said they feared that legalizing medical marijuana would lead to more pot being available in the state for non-medical uses.

State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said the proposal includes safeguards that would prevent medical pot from being diverted to recreational use, including “seed-to-sale” tracking of the medicinal plants that would be monitored by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

“South Carolinians draw a line between (recreational) cannabis and alcohol,” Davis said. “That’s not the debate we’re having in South Carolina.”

Davis repeatedly cited a poll showing 78 percent of South Carolinians support legalizing marijuana for medical use. He hopes the bill’s chances will be boosted by the the stories of South Carolinians who struggle with conditions that could be alleviated by using cannabis.

In 2014, Jill Swing of Mount Pleasant pushed the Legislature to legalize the marijuana derivative cannabidoil for medical use, hoping to alleviate her daughter’s violent seizures. But she said she quickly realized her family had few legal avenues to access the drug.

“Last summer, we reached our breaking point,” Swing said. “We became medical cannabis refugees in Maine, where she could be treated with higher levels of THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis) than is legal here.”

Bristow Marchant: 803-771-8405@bristowathome@buzzatthestate


Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article125645349.html#storylink=cpy

 

Henry Rollins to Keynote International Cannabis Business Conference

 Anthony Johnson January 11, 2017, 8:00 am

The upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco, will once again display revolutionary, unique thinking by featuring a keynote address by entertainment guru and internationally-famed rockstar Henry Rollins. The informative conference will take place for one day only on Friday, February 17th, but attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with the Rollins and other conference speakers at a VIP event the evening of the 16th.

Rollins is an acclaimed American musician, actor, writer, and comedian. Rollins hosts a weekly broadcast on NPR affiliate KCRW in Los Angeles and is a regular contributor to LA Weekly and Rolling Stone Australia, and he follows on the heels of previous ICBC keynoters such as former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, author and blogging pioneer Andrew Sullivan and travel guru Rick Steves.

Rollins is a true pioneer of contemporary American culture and a long-time human rights advocate, and is not shy about his feelings on cannabis. Rollins is known in political spaces for extensive work he has done to support gay rights and gay  marriage, and for his efforts to help exonerate the “West Memphis Three”, a group of three young men from West Memphis who many believe were wrongly accused of murder. Rollins has also spent a great deal of time working with veterans organizations, both as an entertainer and as a major promoter of SupportYourVet.org, an organization devoted to helping vets reintegrate in their home communities following deployment.

Regarding cannabis, Rollins has been forthcoming. Henry attended the first High Times Cannabis Cup to be held in an adult-legal US state – it was 4/20 in Denver in 2014. While many “insiders” of the cannabis world have a lot of opinions about where we are going, Rollins’ ability to look at the external elements of the situation is obvious.

From Rollins’ Westword article about his Cannabis Cup experience:

Damn, that was a great day. We arrived at “The Cup” a little before the 1100 hrs. opening. The line stretched around the parking lot. Thanks to a media pass, I was one of the first ones in. I stood facing the doors, watching people stream past me. Mostly young, white and very excited. Lots of happy noise. People yelled “Happy 4-20, Henry!” at me as they poured into the massive Denver Mart for day two of this epic event. I read on CNN.com that “tens of thousands of visitors — by some estimates 80,000 — [have] come to Denver to mark 4-20 (April 20), a date that’s emerged as a holiday among those steeped in cannabis culture.

That’s a lot of people, but that’s missing the point. I don’t think there is a “cannabis culture,” any more than there is a “tobacco culture.” Cannabis consumption is not a fringe-element interest. Some might like to think it is, but that’s just prejudicial bullshit, intended to prolong the myth that only deviants and other undesirables seek out the weed.

“Henry Rollins is a name recognized through countless and widely-varied circles of artists, scholars, and political animals of many stripes,” says Alex Rogers, lead producer of the ICBC. “Henry has continued to push himself forward and to the brink physically, intellectually, emotionally, and in terms of social awareness over the past several decades. He is an out-of-the-box thinker who has been way ahead of his time on many social justice issues.”

The International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco will arm attendees with important knowledge about the California cannabis industry and business in general. Keynote speaker Henry Rollins provides industry participants with a fresh, outside-the-box voice from someone who has been outspoken and unafraid of taking calculated risks to make the world a more enriched place to be. Tickets are expected to sell out, so don’t wait to get yours!

This blog originally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission. 

Marijuana Organizations React to Jeff Sessions Confirmation

 "Radical" Russ January 10, 2017, 9:04 pm

I listened to almost all of Jeff Sessions’ Attorney General confirmation hearing today. Judging from the reaction of the national marijuana organizations, his answers were like the Great Blue/Black Dress Debate¹ of 2016.

NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws – is a membership organization that represents the nation’s cannabis consumers. NORML’s Executive Director Erik Altieri says Sessions’ vague answers could mean we are headed back to the era of federal attacks on marijuana:

“After finally being put on the spot and questioned on the issue, we are no closer to clarity in regards to Sessions’ plans for how to treat state marijuana laws than we were yesterday. If anything, his comments are a cause for concern and can be interpreted as leaving the door open for enforcing federal law in legalized states.”

NCIA – the National Cannabis Industry Association – is a membership organization that represents the nation’s cannabis producers, processors, and sellers. NCIA’s Executive Director Aaron Smith seems to have found clarity in Sessions’ answers and says we’ll likely be continuing President Obama’s federal hands-off approach on marijuana.

“In today’s hearing, Senator Sessions indicated that the Justice Department’s current guidelines for marijuana policy enforcement are ‘truly valuable’ in setting departmental priorities. That belief, along with the support for state sovereignty on cannabis policy expressed by President-elect Trump and his team, should lead Sen. Sessions to maintain the current federal policy of respect for state-legal, regulated cannabis programs if he is confirmed as Attorney General.”

ASA – Americans for Safe Access – fights only for the protection of medical marijuana patients and providers. ASA’s Director of Government Affairs Mike Liszewski seems worried medical marijuana could come under attack by Sessions:

“The vague answers given by Senator Jeff Sessions during today’s Attorney General confirmation hearing provided little comfort for the 2 million American patients who rely on state-run medical cannabis programs to provide them with physician-recommended medicine. Each of the 44 states that have medical cannabis programs, including 15 states with patient access to CBD, such as Sessions home state of Alabama, technically violate federal law.

“While it is encouraging the President-Elect Trump’s incoming press secretary has said Sessions will abide by Trump’s position on medical cannabis, Sessions has yet to make such a commitment to respect state medical cannabis laws.”

MPP – Marijuana Policy Project – is strictly a policy organization with the goal of changing marijuana laws. MPP’s Director of Federal Policies Robert Capecchi says he’s optimistic that the federal hands-off policy will continue.

“It is notable that Sen. Sessions chose not to commit to vigorously enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have reformed their marijuana laws. He also recognized that enforcing federal marijuana laws would be dependent upon the availability of resources, the scarcity of which poses a problem. He was given the opportunity to take an extreme prohibitionist approach and he passed on it.

“It’s also promising that Donald Trump’s spokesperson said earlier in the day that the next attorney general would follow the president-elect’s lead on the issue. President-elect Trump has made it clear that he supports states’ rights to establish their own marijuana policies. Considering both Sen. Sessions and Mr. Spicer’s comments, we remain cautiously optimistic that the incoming administration will continue the current policy of not interfering with individuals and entities acting in compliance with state marijuana laws.”

I find it interesting that the two national organizations that deal directly with the consumers of marijuana are worried about Sessions shutting down the marijuana industry, while the two national organizations that deal directly with the big money in marijuana are telling us Sessions will continue the Obama Administration’s enabling of the marijuana industry.