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Medical Marijuana Bill draws mixed reaction in South Carolina

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South Carolina is one of 14 states that doesn’t allow medicinal marijuana use.

Senate Bill 150 aims to change that, but York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson is voicing his opposition to the legislation. He held a law enforcement forum to discuss the bill.

“If you’re going to call it medicine, then let’s treat it like medicine,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel.

Tolson added, “There is a concern amongst some leaders that this really isn’t about medical marijuana, the end game is recreational marijuana.”

The bill, filed by Republican Senator Tom Davis, states qualified patients includes those with chronic pain, people with PTSD and other debilitating medical conditions.

“It provides for doctors to have this authority,” said Senator Tom Davis, ‘it specifies the patients that can qualify to receive this medicine if doctors think it’s in the best interest and then it draws a bright line against any recreational use.”

Some law enforcement officials, like SLED Chief Mark Keel, would say the devil is in the details.

“There’s no limits on the potency of the THC that is in senate bill 150,” Keel said on the forum.

There are requirements, however, to display the percentage of THC.

“The assertion that you don’t know what you’re getting if you authorize the use of cannabis, you need to read my bill,” Davis said, “because what my bill says is an independent lab has to analyze the cannabis and then label it in terms of what percent THC does it have? What percent CBD does it have?”

The bill would have a direct impact on Jody Luke’s business. She owns Pure Remedy CBD in Fort Mill, and would gladly offer medicinal marijuana to her customers, if legally allowed.

“There’s a lot of opioid abuse in this country,” she said, “and people are dying from it, but they’re not going to die from it by using a marijuana product or hemp product that’s higher in THC concentration.”

Luke’s business has been lucrative since she launched it three years ago. She argues that more regulation for medicinal marijuana distribution would reduce the illegal recreational activity.

“I think having stores who are educated, who can help people guide them properly about dosing and micro dosing, that is going to be a key in the success of this,” she said.

The bill is set for debate in the Senate next week. Senator Davis believes there will be a week or so of debate before it heads for a vote.

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