Greenville County, S.C. — A proposal to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina is in front of the state legislature once again. Last year, WYFF News 4 investigated the story of an Upstate mother fighting for medical marijuana for her daughter. She’s back after a defeat last year.
Cathy Stevens’ 7-year-old daughter Halle takes hemp oil through a feeding tube to help reduce her seizures. Halle has a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial disease. Stevens says the hemp oil has helped reduce Halle’s seizures, but a stronger dose, medical marijuana, would be even more effective.
“I just want everybody to know that her life is a life that is worth valuing and worth doing something to help her have a better quality of life,” Stevens said.
Two identical bills in the South Carolina House and Senate right now would allow people with certain debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana when approved by a doctor. South Carolina lawmakers voted against a medical marijuana bill last year.
On Thursday, Stevens was in Columbia showing her support as the Senate Medical Affairs committee discussed the new legislation.
“What we want is tightly regulated, lab tested, consistent from day to day month to month just like a medicine,” Stevens said.
Stevens said this year’s legislation proposes even tighter regulations.
Law enforcement agencies remain opposed citing, in part, concerns that medical marijuana would end up in the wrong hands and be used for recreation.
“I don’t think that someone who wants recreational marijuana is going to go through the steps and pay the price for what we need, which is truly a medicine for reducing seizures,” Stevens said.
Stevens plans to testify before a House committee next week.
Right now, 29 states have laws legalizing marijuana in some form.
Jarrod Bruder, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association, which opposes the legislation, sent WYFF4 a statement that says, “….”There are a couple of misconceptions about “medical” marijuana that we feel need to be addressed. First, legislation proposed in our state does not allow a doctor to “prescribe” marijuana. Marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic. This means doctors cannot legally prescribe marijuana and pharmacies cannot legally fill prescriptions for marijuana. Proposed legislation in South Carolina allows doctors to issue recommendations for marijuana usage and allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to individuals who have received such recommendations. Second, “medical” marijuana and marijuana are exactly the same thing. The legislation currently proposed in South Carolina not only allows cannabis derivatives such as CBD oil and edibles, but it also permits the smoking of marijuana. We are unaware of any other medicine that is prescribed by a doctor that is smoked. Furthermore, we are also unaware of any other medicine that is prescribed without a specific dosage.
Now, with all of that being said, we have all seen and heard the stories of how medical marijuana can help individuals who suffer with seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other debilitating illnesses. Collectively, our hearts break for those individuals. We want to do everything within our power to bring relief and comfort to those who suffer, but as sheriffs, and individuals who are entrusted to live by and enforce the laws of this state, we must stop short of condoning relief that comes through an illegal manner.
For more than a century, our country has trusted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to test, verify, and recommend products that are safe for public consumption. We see no need to abandon this process when it comes to the use of marijuana. In August of 2016, under the Obama Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) refused to reschedule marijuana. In its decision to keep the drug classified as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substance Act, the DEA stated, “A substance is placed in Schedule I if it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and high potential for abuse.” The DEA went on to say, “Research is the bedrock of science, and we will – as we have for many years – support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.” The DEA is working with other federal agencies to increase legitimate research on marijuana. In fact, one particular drug, Epidiolex®, which is an oral solution of pure plant-derived cannabidiol, is expected to be approved by the FDA for commercial launch in the next 12-18 months. This drug is expected to have a significant impact on those suffering from epileptic seizures.
Without proper vetting by the FDA and DEA, we fear that our State’s attempt to bring relief and comfort to a small, yet important segment of our population, will create an environment that will yield greater illegal drug use, especially in our youth, and increase the already heavy burden on the law enforcement community to protect and serve our state.”
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Upstate Mother Fights For Medical Marijuana For Her Daughter
Author: Gabreille Komorowski
Photo Credit: WYFF