Doctors to speak on behalf of legalizing medical marijuana

Updated: Mar. 8, 2017 at 5:39 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Doctors and medical experts will speak to senators in support of legalizing medical marijuana in a Wednesday afternoon meeting.

Leaders of the group Compassionate South Carolina are organizing the group's testimony in favor of passing bill S. 212, the Compassionate Care Act, sponsored by Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort). The bill would allow certain patients with debilitating conditions to access cannabis for medical use if a doctor recommends it.

Those testifying before the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee at 3:00 p.m. include Anthony Chase, a Daufuskie Island healthcare professional, Judy Frates, a hospice nurse, Dr. William Griffith, an Anderson physician, Cynthia Grimley, a Lexington rehabilitation counselor, Dr. Stephen Merlin, a Columbia physician and addiction specialist, Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Sue Sisley, an Arizona physician and medical cannabis researcher, and Susan Watson, a Columbia nurse whose daughter is a lymphoma patient.

"There is a large and rapidly growing body of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of medical cannabis," Dr. Sue Sisley, who traveled to Columbia to provide expert testimony at Wednesday's hearing, said.

"It is often a much safer option than traditional prescription medications, especially when it comes to treating chronic pain. Patients who could benefit from medical cannabis should be able to access it safely and legally with the guidance of their physicians," Sisley said.

"Chemotherapy is saving my daughter's life, but it is brutal on her body and leaves her with extreme nausea, lethargy, and discomfort," Watson said.

"The medication she has been prescribed to reduce these side effects is addictive and makes her feel completely 'drugged out.' Substituting cannabis has made her treatments far more tolerable and allowed her to reclaim her life and return to school. As a medical professional and as my daughter's caregiver, I implore the Legislature to adopt comprehensive medical cannabis legislation this year," she said.

The Senate meeting happens at 3 p.m., in the Marion Gressette office building on the State House grounds in room 308.

CHECK THIS OUT: An interactive map of states and where they stand on medical marijuana. 

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