Charleston, SC, February 03, 2006 --(PR.com
)-- A Charleston-based grassroots organization announced today it has launched a statewide petition drive to persuade South Carolina legislators to allow licensed physicians to prescribe marijuana to their sick patients.
The online petition drive, dubbed Compassionate Care, is being sponsored by South Carolinians for Drug Law Reform, a nonprofit organization (501 [c] 4) with supporters across the state.
The petition can be found on the organization's web site, www.scdruglawreform.org.
"The Compassionate Care initiative is simple," said Todd Chas, SCDLR's vice president and project director for the petition drive. "We know that public opinion overwhelmingly supports the use of medical marijuana in cases where it has been prescribed by a licensed physician. Our statewide petition drive will make it clear to our elected representatives that compassion and common sense dictate that it is time to stop punishing patients who suffer from debilitating illnesses. South Carolinians can raise their voices in support of an end to unnecessary suffering and unjust imprisonment by signing our online petition and spreading the word about our Compassionate Care initiative."
Chas said surveys show that more than 70 percent of all South Carolinians - 70 percent of all Americans, for that matter-- want doctors, not politicians, to decide whether their sick patients should have marijuana. (The South Carolina General Assembly and governor legally recognized the medicinal value of marijuana in 1979 when it passed the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act.)
Chas also said eleven states (none in the Southeast) already have adopted medical marijuana laws, and numerous national medical and other organizations have voiced their support. States that already have medical marijuana laws on their books are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island,Vermont and Washington. Medical marijuana bills were also introduced recently in Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Mexico. National organizations that have endorsed access to marijuana include the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians American Bar Association, American Public health Association, National Association of Attorneys General, National Nurses Society on Addictions and the New England Journal of Medicine.
The SCDLR petition reads in full:
We, the undersigned citizens of South Carolina, hereby petition the Governor and General Assembly of the State of South Carolina to enact appropriate legislation to permit licensed physicians to prescribe marijuana, and to ensure a safe and affordable supply of marijuana for medical use.
WHEREAS, Scientific and medical studies by the National Academy of Science have shown marijuana to be a safe and effective medicine for the treatment of glaucoma, epilepsy, muscle spasticity, arthritis, anxiety, depression, the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics, and the nausea, vomiting and appetite loss associated with chemotherapies; and
WHEREAS, The State of South Carolina legally recognized the medicinal value of marijuana in 1980 (South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1979); and
WHEREAS, South Carolina polls indicate that 71% of respondents believe drug abuse should be addressed with treatment rather than incarceration (Global Strategy Group, 2002); and
WHEREAS, National polls indicate that at least 70% of United States citizens support medical marijuana when prescribed by a physician (AARP, Time Magazine, Gallup); and
WHEREAS, The billions of dollars spent prosecuting and imprisoning sick people in South Carolina and across the nation could be better spent on programs emphasizing treatment, education and rehabilitation; and
WHEREAS, Compassion and common sense demand that we allow America's seriously ill citizens to use whatever medication is most safe and effective according to their doctors to alleviate their pain and suffering;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Governor and General Assembly of the State of South Carolina enact appropriate legislation to permit marijuana to be prescribed by licensed physicians and to ensure a safe and affordable supply of marijuana for medical use.
From South Carolinians for Drug Law Reform:
Skip Johnson, president,
Todd Chas, vp and project director,