Medical marijuana bill to be introduced at SC Statehouse

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina lawmakers will introduce medical cannabis legislation on Tuesday morning. It’s the first day of the legislative session in Columbia and advocates will discuss the “South Carolina Compassionate Care Act” at 10:30 a.m.

“I’m hopeful that we won’t have to leave the state to try the treatment,” said Judy Ghanem, whose daughter, Kira, has a rare genetic disorder. “Sometimes she’s as good as gold and sometimes she has these outbursts of violent behavior. So that’s what we’re hoping medical cannabis will help.”

SC Compassion, a community outreach resource that specializes in getting legal access to medical cannabis in the state, organized the bill with Senator Tom Davis and Representative Peter McCoy. It would allow qualifying patients with debilitating medical conditions and a recommendation from their doctor to use medical cannabis.

Those conditions include: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDs, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, autism, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Parkinson’s disease and neural-tube defects.

“To improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of South Carolina patients who can benefit from alternate courses of treatment instead of pharmaceutical,” said the head of Government Affairs for SC Compassion, David Newsom, who has been working with legislators to pass the bill.

Newsom’s daughter, Harmony, was diagnosed with a rare genetic brain disorder when she was six months old.

“Then she started having irretractable epilepsy and, you know, multiple, multiple seizures a day,” added Newsom. He found relief when Harmony started taking CBD oil, which is legal in South Carolina.

“Traditional pharmaceutical medications had made our daughter a zombie,” said Newsom who now wants medical cannabis to be available for those who need it.

“When you see something that can help people then it’s important to work for that cause,” he added. “And to try to understand, you know, past the stigma and the propaganda, exactly what is this plant.”

Newsom said some people are leaving the state and becoming “medical refugees”, because they cannot get the treatment.

“I really want it to pass so we don’t have to leave the state,” said Ghanem. “Because I’m at the point now where what we’re trying isn’t really working. I’ve actually considered leaving the state for treatment for her to at least see if it can help her.”

Both Ghanem and Newsom will be at the press conference in Columbia on Tuesday.

“The solution is out there and it just seems like it’s the right path to go down,” added Ghanem.

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