By Allyson Sloway
Two weeks ago the South Carolina Senate rejected Sen. Tom Davis', R-Beaufort, bill to make medical marijuana legal in South Carolina. However, that does not mean that the door has been shut on medical marijuana use in the State House.
Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Dorchester, has introduced the bill to the South Carolina House, hoping to see a different outcome by bringing more awareness to the fine print.
"It's tightly controlled and it's highly regulated. The patient in need would be able to go to the dispensary to obtain medical marijuana as prescribed. It is not recreational marijuana because I am not for that," Horne said.
Like Davis' bill, Horne's will authorize the use of medical marijuana for individuals with certain diseases such as intractable epilepsy, cancer, traumatic brain injuries, glaucoma, and narcolepsy. But unlike Davis' bill, Horne hopes to put out more information about her bill.
South Carolina Sen. Kevin Johnson, D-Clarendon, voted against Davis' bill but said that it doesn't mean he is fully against medical marijuana in South Carolina. He said that in order to get him on board, he hopes to see the medical community and law enforcement on board.
Morgan Howard is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina who watched her older sister have as many as 10 seizures every day for the past 21 years. She said that all changed when her home state of Connecticut approved medical marijuana.
"With this one strand of medical marijuana my sister is down to two or three seizures and has even had seizure free days. It is unreal because she's never been seizure free," Howard says.
USC junior Jamie Canavan has had similar results while using medical marijuana. For 10 years Canavan has dealt with migraines so bad she's had to take medical leave from the university. She said that doctors are quick to prescribe her pain killers like Oxycontin and Vicodin that have life-altering side effects such as loss of memory or immobility. Canavan said she began using marijuana because it was just as helpful for controlling her migraines with none of the extreme side effects.
Despite the positives medical marijuana has, legislators like Johnson said the drawbacks are still more prevalent.
"I think anyone would have compassion, especially for young children with seizures or cancer. But it's hard for me to vote for the bill if the medical community isn't on board," he said.
Horne said she hopes to get the medical community, as well as law enforcement, on board by proving the benefits out way the drawbacks. She said she hopes to show that this bill will in no way lead to recreational marijuana sales in South Carolina. She also said that she hopes to show that the patients who have a medical marijuana card will be paying a high tax on a regulated state issued medical card, which will keep medical marijuana off the black market.