Is medical use a marijuana possession defense in South Carolina?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Drug Charges |

Although it remains a Schedule I drug, marijuana has plenty of research and anecdotal evidence supporting its medicinal use. People who are caught in possession of marijuana or are arrested while under its influence might try to claim that their use of the plant is medical.

Even people facing charges related to the cultivation or growth of marijuana or the production of marijuana extracts, like butane hash oil (BHO), might claim medical use. In some cases, those claims could be valid.

An individual with cancer, chronic pain or neurological conditions may have used marijuana medically in another state. However, they probably don’t have the right to use it in South Carolina. For most people, asserting medical use will not be a defense against drug charges for marijuana possession.

Few people qualify for medical marijuana in South Carolina

Comprehensive medical marijuana programs allow people with a variety of conditions to access different kinds of marijuana-based medicine. South Carolina has a medical marijuana law, but it is so restrictive that it only applies to a tiny percentage of people who would have a reason to use marijuana medically.

Only one kind of medical condition qualifies for those limited protections. The patient must have severe and uncontrollable epilepsy or seizure disorders. Conditions like Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome or Dravet Syndrome may qualify someone for the legal use of cannabidiol (CBD) but not whole-plant marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). No other marijuana-based medicines or conditions have any legal protection yet.

Just because you don’t have the option of relying on medical use claims to avoid a criminal charge, that doesn’t mean a conviction is inevitable. Those facing drug charges in South Carolina could still have many ways to defend against those charges. An experienced attorney can help.


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