SC Medical Marijuana Debate Continues After Key Support Vote

By JEFFREY COLLINS, Related Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators voted down a proposal Wednesday that might have gutted a invoice that seeks to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina.

The 26-18 vote doubtless signifies the extent of help for Sen. Tom Davis’ invoice after seven days of debate.

There have been greater than a dozen modifications made to the invoice, from giving choice to South Carolina farmers to develop the marijuana for this system to charging a 6% gross sales tax to permitting cities or counties to ban authorized medical marijuana of their jurisdiction.

Davis has labored on the invoice for greater than seven years. Throughout his long-sought debate, the Beaufort Republican has rigorously seemed over each modification — there have been greater than 65 by the point the solar went down Wednesday — and labored with each supporters and opponents in his bid to make the invoice higher.

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The invoice has uncommon bipartisan help and opposition. Fourteen Republicans voted down the modification that might have gutted the invoice, whereas 14 GOP senators supported it.

The invoice has been the one main merchandise debated by the Senate since Jan. 26.

Davis has stated his proposal could be one of the vital conservative among the many 37 states which have accredited medical marijuana.

Smoking the drug would stay unlawful. As a substitute, sufferers must use oils, salves, patches or vaporizers.

Medical doctors must meet sufferers in individual and sufferers may solely get a two-week provide at one time.

The proposal specifies the sicknesses that could possibly be handled, together with most cancers, a number of sclerosis, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia and autism.

The marijuana could possibly be obtained solely by means of specifically chosen pharmacies.

Senators gave the impression to be transferring towards a last vote after agreeing to cease taking amendments Wednesday night. However it wasn’t clear precisely when that vote would happen.

Many legislation enforcement businesses and spiritual teams oppose the invoice. Critics feared it might arrange what some referred to as a “marijuana industrial complicated” and permit the state to shortly shift to allowing leisure marijuana use.

“This invoice will lead us to bother and can l lead this state to be worse than after we discovered it,” stated Sen. Sandy Senn, a Republican from Charleston.

Opponents additionally stated it should make it simpler for youngsters to get marijuana prescribed to members of the family or buddies.

“They’re both going to present it to them, they’ll promote it to them or they’ll take it from them,” stated Sen. Kevin Johnson, a Democrat from Manning.

Davis stated loads of individuals are already utilizing marijuana illegally and can proceed doing so if his invoice is rejected.

In asking senators to reject the modification to show the proposed program right into a analysis mission, Davis requested senators to think about the hundreds of people that turned to medical marijuana after nothing else labored or need to use it to interchange opioids.

Davis began his campaign in 2016 by taking the ground of the Senate each day in the course of the brief interval senators could make private speeches to highlight somebody struggling with out medical marijuana.

“There’s a place for analysis. There’s a place for medical trials. There’s a place for knowledge. Please don’t substitute that for entry for individuals who want it,” Davis stated.

If the Senate passes the invoice, it might transfer on to the Home, which should approve it earlier than the Common Meeting session ends in Could — or it should die.

Gov. Henry McMaster has stated his place on medical marijuana is evolving, however he refused to say Tuesday what he may do if the invoice reaches his desk.

“Untimely to say,” the governor instructed reporters. “I’d should see what’s within the invoice.”

Comply with Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

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