S.C. politics: Bill would legalize cannabis oil for epilepsy treatment

March 6, 2014 

Bill would legalize cannabis oil for epilepsy treatment

People suffering from severe epilepsy could legally use oil derived from marijuana under a bill advancing in the South Carolina House.

The bill says cannabidiol is not an illegal drug if a patient has a prescription or is participating in a clinical trial for treating severe forms of epilepsy.

State Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Dorchester, says she named her bill for a 3-year-old constituent who suffers dozens of seizures daily and whose family is moving to Colorado to access the potentially life-changing treatment.

The bill advanced Thursday to the full Judiciary Committee.

The Legislature’s only ER doctor, state Rep. Kris Crawford, R-Florence, said the cannabis oil shows promise toward helping people with extreme forms of epilepsy live normally.

The narrowly drawn legislation is considered a small step toward allowing other medical uses of marijuana.

Those who testified at Thursday’s subcommittee said Horne’s bill does not go far enough, and that there are benefits to other forms of medical marijuana.

Also, on Thursday, House Minority Leader Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, filed a broader bill that would offer patients the chance to be prescribed medical marijuana for severe illnesses, including cancer and multiple sclerosis.

“I hear devastating stories every single day from people who are battling epilepsy or suffering from a brain tumor who desperately need medical marijuana to treat the debilitating symptoms,” Rutherford said in a statement.

The Associated Press and The Post and Courier contributed

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