Image of South Carolina state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort
 A pair of South Carolina legislators plan to file new legislation next month that would allow marijuana to be grown and prescribed for certain illnesses.
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The pledge by the two Republicans came after the Medical Marijuana Study Committee heard testimony Thursday on the legalization of medical marijuana.
 
“This is a process that I think everyone agrees needs to be thorough and deliberative, with all factors both anticipated and unanticipated considered,” State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said during the hearing.
 
Davis and State Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Summerville, said they will introduce matching bills in both the House and Senate that would allow the plant to be grown legally for medical purposes.
 
Horne said lawmakers need to give patients access to the plant’s healing properties in a controlled, legal way. “I think that we owe it to the citizens of this state not to say, ‘No, we’re not going to consider it in any form.'”
 
Both Horne and Davis were key in getting South Carolina lawmakers to approve the limited use of marijuana extract oil last year. The compound, known as cannabidiol oil (CBD oil), is only permitted on children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy.
 
The compound does not contain the plant’s chemicals that create the sensation of feeling “high.”
 
Both Davis and Horne said they would also file legislation providing better access to CBD oil. Davis says lawmakers need to follow up by regulating the growth, testing and dispensing of the oil.
 
The bill expanding marijuana’s allowed medical uses will be a tougher sell. Health officials had doubts about whether having children smoke marijuana would improve their health. “We have a problem calling marijuana in a smokable form ‘medicinal,'” 
state epidemiologist Linda Bell said during the hearing. She said that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens.
 
Bill Dubensky ~ January 29, 2015
 
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