Granny Green

South Carolina the first Medical Marijuana state?

Published by Granny Green



Since 1980...???

Well according to the "South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1980", they are!!  A long forgotten law that has been on the books since 1980 yet no one in South Carolina has yet to receive marijuana under this option.  As the person who shared this with me said... "We need to shout this from the rooftops"...Someone in South Carolina needs to challenge this!  Read on for info directly from their state government page.  I would be curious to know if any of your have ever heard of this obscure medical marijuana law.... Let me hear your thoughts!


Session 103 (1979-1980)

S*0350(Rat # 0346, Act # 0323)

General Bill, By T.E. Smith
Similar(H 3210)

A Bill to enact the South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research
Act of 1979 which will make marijuana available to cancer chemotherapy patients,
radiology and glaucoma patients under certain conditions for the purpose of
alleviating the patient's pain and discomfort-at.

   03/13/79  Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-7
   03/13/79  Senate Referred to Committee on Medical Affairs SJ-7
   02/07/80  Senate Committee report: Favorable with amendment
                     Medical Affairs SJ-13
   02/13/80  Senate Amended SJ-11
   02/13/80  Senate Read second time SJ-11
   02/19/80  Senate Read third time and sent to House SJ-7
   02/20/80  House  Introduced, read first time, placed on calendar
                     without reference HJ-1017
   02/21/80  House  Read second time HJ-1069
   02/26/80  House  Read third time and enrolled HJ-1115
   02/27/80  Senate Ratified R 346 SJ-30
   02/28/80         Signed By Governor
   02/28/80         Effective date 02/28/80  ACT NO. 323
   03/11/80         Copies available

(A323, R346, S350)

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

Act may be cited

Section 1. This act may be cited as the "South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1980".


Section 2. The General Assembly finds that recent research has shown that the use of marijuana may alleviate the nausea and ill effects of cancer chemotherapy and radiology, and, additionally, may alleviate the ill effects of glaucoma. The General Assembly further finds that there is a need for further research and experimentation with regard to the use of marijuana under strictly controlled circumstances. It is for this purpose that the General Assembly has determined to enact this legislation.


Section 3. As used in this act unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Environmental Control;

(b) "Marijuana" mean marijuana, all tetrahydrocannabinols or a chemical derivative of any tetrahydrocannabinol;

(c) "Practitioner" means a physician licensed to practice medicine in this State and licensed to prescribe and administer drugs which are subject to regulation under the provisions of Article 3, Chapter 53 of Title 44 of the 1976 Code.

Department to establish therapeutic research program

Section 4. (A) There is established in the Department of Health and Environmental Control a controlled substances therapeutic research program. The program shall be administered by the Commissioner. The program shall distribute to cancer chemotherapy and radiology patients and to glaucoma patients who are certified pursuant to this act marijuana under the terms and conditions of this act for the purpose of alleviating the patient's discomfort, nausea and other painful side effects of their disease or chemotherapy treatments. The Department shall promulgate regulations necessary for the proper administration of this act and in such promulgation, the Department shall take into consideration those pertinent regulations promulgated by the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Department of Justice; Food and Drug Administration; the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institutes of Health.

(B) Except as provided in subsection (c) of Section 5, the controlled substances therapeutic research program shall be limited to cancer chemotherapy and radiology patients and glaucoma patients, who are certified to the patient qualification review advisory board by a practitioner as being involved in a life-threatening or sense-threatening situation and who are not responding to conventional controlled substances or where the conventional controlled substances administered have proven to be effective but where the patient has incurred severe side effects.

Commissioner to appoint patient qualification Review Advisory Board

Section 5. (a) The Commissioner shall appoint a patient qualification review advisory board to serve at his pleasure. The patient qualification review advisory board shall be comprised of:

(1) a physician licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology;

(2) a physician licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and also certified in the subspecialty of medical oncology;

(3) a physician licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry; and

(4) a pharmacologist holding a Doctoral degree or its equivalent.

Members of the board shall be paid the usual per diem, mileage and subsistence as provided by law for members of boards, commissions and committees.

(b) The board shall review all applicants for the controlled substances therapeutic research program and their licensed practitioners and certify their participation in the program.

(c) The board, in its discretion, may include other disease groups for participation in the controlled substances therapeutic research program after pertinent medical data have been presented by a practitioner to both the Commissioner and the board and after necessary approval is received by the appropriate federal agencies.

Marijuana obtained by commissioner

Section 6. (a) The Commissioner shall obtain marijuana through whatever means he deems most appropriate consistent with federal law.

(b) The Commissioner shall cause such analyzed marijuana to be transferred to various locations throughout the State that provide adequate security as set forth in federal and state regulations for the purpose of distributing such marijuana to the certified patient in such manner as is consistent with federal law. The patient shall not be required to pay for such marijuana but the Commissioner may charge for ancillary medical services provided by the Department to compensate the Department for the cost, if any, of securing such marijuana, and providing it to the patient.

Commissioner to make annual report

Section 7. The Commissioner shall annually report to the General Assembly his opinion as to the effectiveness of this program and his recommendations for any changes thereto.

Time effective

Section 8. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.



Just an FYI... Gov. Richard W. Riley signed the law on 2/28/1980.  See the top of the page....

So why is it that no one knows about this and not one patient has gotten this opportunity?  Just sayin'....

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Wednesday, May 18 2011 at 10:00p
Greetings - I am the director of communicatiosn for ColumbiaNORML.. We found this bill a few months back and started looking into what it would take to get it in use. Unfortunately, this bill requires an advisory board made up of specific individuals to create a program within the Department of Health to study the use of medical marijuana. The biggest obstacle for this bill is that it requires state tax dollars to run and in our state of economic peril, our state is barely coming up with money to run buses, arts programs and many other health related programs, like aids and HIV prevention programs (to which we are one of the top states for individuals with aids and HIV). We would have to make a lot of changes to the bill and after some research and reaching out, we didn't feel we had enough support or resources to use this. I urge anyone out there that is willing to assist South Carolina in changing its cannabis laws, to reach out to ColumbiaNORML. We can be reached at or on facebook columbianorml.
Expert Post
Granny Green  (30 posts)
Thursday, Jun 2 2011 at 10:01a
Thanks for the insight and making this law a bit clearer! As for economic woes... we both know how we can help eradicate that problem.... full LEGALIZATION!! It would be a wonderful thing to not worry about how to keep buses running, schools & the arts thriving, social health programs funded.... We will help in any way we can... Thanks for being here!! Sharing this on FB too!
SC Got Medicine
Thursday, Nov 21 2013 at 10:53a
Thanks for posting about this law. The Columbia NORML writer is right on about the limitations of the bill and the obstacles we face in lproviding safe legal access to good medicine for suffering patients here in SC. BUT WE ARE PUSHING FORWARD. Residents of SC are urged to sign our online petition and get involved in our state-wide movement. Our blog and petition site: Our Facebook campaign: Thanks!