SC Could Legalize Medical Cannabis In 2019

Lancaster Co., SC– South Carolina is close to legalizing medical cannabis.

It’s a report WCCB Charlotte first told you about in May 2018.

Now, we are looking at the legal obstacles the law will face in the new year.

If lawmakers pass the Compassionate Care Act, it will be a new years resolution for the record books.

To read the Compassionate Care Act, click here.

“It would be really nice to have some hope and to hear, ‘Yeah, sure. We can do that for you.’,” said Kelly Helms.

To read previous reports on their journey, click here.

Helms has been sharing her son Jackson’s story with lawmakers for years to try to legalize cannabis for medical purposes.

Jackson is now 20-years-old. Seemingly trapped inside his body since birth, he can have up to 100 seizures a day.

Medications caused his liver to fail, and Helms says her son’s doctors agree that medical cannabis is the answer.

Research shows it helps reduce seizures, nausea from chemo and pain.

South Carolina’s Compassionate Care Act passed all the necessary committees in 2018. It just made it to the house floor too late this year to take a vote.

Lawmakers say it will come up again in January, and they have until April to decide.

“It could be on its way to passing this year,” said Rep. Brandon Newton, (R) Lancaster County.

Rep. Newton says the bill needs some changes.

“I don’t like the smokeable part. I’d also like to tighten down on the chronic pain provision,” said Rep. Newton.

“I think the key to getting the bill passed is going to be some buy-in or consent from law enforcement. Because they will be giving up a great deal of revenue for fines and forfeitures if this passes, or at least there’s the fear that they will,” said Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell, (D) Lancaster Co.

Some argue that smelling the smoke is the suspicion law enforcement can use to detect who’s using illegal marijuana.

A second hurdle could come from the South Carolina Medical Board.

Governor Henry McMaster has said he will only support the bill with certain law enforcement support, and he has veto power.

32 other states currently allow medical cannabis.

“I’m tired of seizures. I’m tired of splints and wheel chairs,” said Helms.

Helms says if it’s too late for Jackson, she’ll still fight because she’s seen how it’s helped younger children.

“These kids are growing up walking, talking. They’re seeing better. They’re hearing better,” said Helms.