South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill ruled unconstitutional, but sponsor vows to keep fighting

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On May 4, 2022, South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill — SB 150, also known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act — was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s House of Representatives.

The constitutional challenge was mounted by Rep. John McCravy, who argued that because the bill involves the creation of a new tax, specifically on medical cannabis, that the bill should have originated in the House, per the South Carolina constitution. House Speaker Pro Tem Thomas Pope agreed with Rep. McCravy’s argument and ruled the bill unconstitutional.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tom Davis, appealed the ruling, but the House voted 59-55 to table the appeal, stopping the bill in its tracks. In response to this tabling of his appeal, Rep. Davis stated he would be “working on” getting the bill a “merits up or down [vote] in the House,” before the Legislature closes in mid-May.

While the ruling dealt a blow to the bill’s momentum, it is notable that the bill has not yet seen a vote on the merits — this setback was strictly a procedural one. The bill, which would allow patients with qualifying medical conditions to buy, possess, and use cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries, was passed by the Senate in February 2022. The bill has 14 listed cosponsors and was passed unanimously by the House Medical, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee before stalling out on the House floor.

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