Pubdate: Mon, 16 Apr 2018
Source: State, The (SC)
Copyright: 2018 The State
Author: David F. Keely, M.D.


As a family medicine and public-health physician practicing in South
Carolina for the past 40 years, I see the proposed system for making
marijuana available for evidence-based medical treatments as severely

S.212 provides for a wholly unnecessary system of marijuana
cultivation centers, processing sites and dispensaries. The Federal
Drug Administration is already working with the federal Drug
Enforcement Authority to increase legitimate research on marijuana
products for medical use, and the DEA has a well-established system to
handle prescription narcotics.

Since the Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve an oral
solution of pure plant-derived cannabidiol in the next 12-15 months,
the federal system logically should be the one used.

A clear majority of South Carolinians -- 77 percent in a 2016 Winthrop
Poll -- agree that "medical marijuana" should be "regulated by the FDA
like current medications." FDA oversight under the auspices of DEA
designation of marijuana as a legal Schedule II controlled drug is
what our state needs. There is no need for South Carolina to re-invent
the wheel.

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Additionally, S.212 creates a wholly unnecessary system of "medical
marijuana" cardholders, while leaving significant loopholes regarding
dosing amounts and tracking of how much an individual purchases over
time. Once again, the current registration system for prescribing and
tracking narcotic drug use should be used here, in conjunction with
South Carolina's prescription drug monitoring system. Existing
cooperative agreements with prescription drug monitoring systems in
Georgia and North Carolina are effectively limiting drug-seeking
behavior by narcotics abusers. So it can be with medical marijuana.

S.212 also requires our state to honor non-resident "medical
marijuana" recommendation cards, which opens up our state to users
from states that do not require in-person physician evaluations to
obtain these "recommendations." Our system of traditional drug
prescription methods (hand-written or electronic) should be used for
non-resident "medical marijuana" users requesting refills.

In short, this bill does not live up to its promise of compassionate
care. It is critically flawed, and our legislators should instead use
our current federal and state drug enforcement systems, in conjunction
with upcoming FDA approval of medical marijuana practices that have
been proven effective through evidence-based research now underway.

David F. Keely, M.D.
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