As of May 4th 2022, South Carolina will remain one of the thirteen states where medical cannabis is still illegal. The legislation, called the SC Compassionate Care Act, passed the Senate in a 28-15 vote in February. Over 65 changes were considered during a three-week period during its time in the upper chamber. Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, challenged the constitutionality of the bill on Wednesday on the floor of the House. He argued that the legislation would create a new tax, and that all revenue-raising bills must originate within the lower chamber.
The appeal to keep the bill alive was then sent to the lower chamber. Resulting in 59-55 in favor of killing the measure.
The bill’s language states that all sales of cannabis products are subject to a 6% sales tax at the point of sale. After covering regulatory costs, the bill aimed to distribute revenue from the tax as follows: 3% for research and training to improve detection of impaired driving; 10% for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, education, early intervention and treatment; 5% to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED); 5% to medical cannabis research; 2% for drug safety education; and 75% to the general fund.
Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, sponsor of the bill had this to say, "“We suffered a setback procedurally in the House today, I can’t cry about it. I can’t pout about it. I can’t come back and lash out and try to hurt other people’s bills. That’s not productive. I just need to find out a way to get this thing on the merits up or down in the House, and that’s what I’m going to be working on.”
Under South Carolina's current laws and penalties, possession of 1 ounce or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days of incarceration and a max fine of $200, while subsequent offenses are punishable by up to one year of incarceration with a max fine of $2,000.
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