An interfaith group of medical marijuana supporters came together Wednesday to explain why faith leaders hope the Compassionate Care Act passes.
The bipartisan bill would legalize the sale of marijuana for the treatment of debilitating diseases, like cancer.
Rabbi Eric Mollo addressed the small crowd in the State House rotunda. “It can lift up those in pain. It can lift up those who are suffering and provide them the relief they need.”
Pastor Jeremy Rutledge of Charleston shared his personal connection with this legislation. Rutledge describes his early adulthood when he had to take a break from school to care for his father.
“He was in a lot of pain and at that time we didn’t have medical cannabis or some of the options that might have been better. So the doctors prescribed him morphine. This was the best they could come up with.”
The group says allowing people to alleviate the pain and illness often associated with these diseases aligns with the teachings of their faith.
“Christ was always moved to compassion. One instance he said ‘I saw them as sheep without a Shepard,’ but he was always concerned about the people what was bothering them what was ailing them,” said Representative Ivory Thigpen, a medical professional and pastor, who is just one Democrat supporting the bill filed by republican Senator Tom Davis.
Members of the clergy are also hoping the Compassionate Care Act helps offset opioid addiction in the state.
Tory Fields added, “I had a kid out of Horry County playing football. He got hurt Friday, on Monday he was on opioids. By the time he got on one refill, he got addicted. A year and a half later that kid was dead. His mother cried out but it was all because he couldn’t break it.”
The Compassionate Care Act sets strict criteria for prescribing and usage of medical marijuana. The bill recently passed out of a senate medical subcommittee.
The bill is actually a few dozen pages long and outlines everything from the qualifications of who can prescribe the drug, how the dispensaries will operate and who has to be employed there.