South Carolina

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South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill ruled unconstitutional, but sponsor vows to keep fighting


On May 4, 2022, South Carolina’s medical marijuana bill — SB 150, also known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act — was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s House of Representatives.

The constitutional challenge was mounted by Rep. John McCravy, who argued that because the bill involves the creation of a new tax, specifically on medical cannabis, that the bill should have originated in the House, per the South Carolina constitution. House Speaker Pro Tem Thomas Pope agreed with Rep. McCravy’s argument and ruled the bill unconstitutional.


Medical cannabis bill likely dead in South Carolina legislature

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An effort to save a bill that would legalize medical cannabis in South Carolina failed on Wednesday in the state legislature, dimming its prospects this year.

The State newspaper of Columbia, South Carolina reports that “House lawmakers on Wednesday voted 59-55 against an appeal proposed by House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, to keep the bill alive,” which followed a request from a Republican member of the state House that “the proposal be ruled unconstitutional since it creates a new tax, arguing that revenue-raising bills can only originate in the lower chamber.”

As the newspaper noted, the move “likely [ends] any hope of passage this year.”


Lowcountry hemp farmers use new technology to break stigma around hemp

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When you think of hemp, you might think of a cannabis variation like CBD or THC, but leaders of a new facility in Orangeburg County hope to change that.

Leaders with BrightMa Farms say they’re doing it by using technology. It's an effort to reveal the benefits of hemp that many people may not know of.

Before hemp farming was legal in South Carolina in 2018, it was made out to be dangerous plant and an outdated farming practice.

But it’s a farmer from Johns Island who's taking a different approach while bringing minority communities to the forefront of the industry.

Harold Singletary comes from a family of hemp farmers.

“I'm a fourth-generation descendant of BrightMa, who was enslaved on a plantation,” Singletary said.


Medical cannabis one step closer to law, South Carolina farmers to get priority over out-of-state companies

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The medical cannabis bill poised to pass the South Carolina Senate would prioritize existing hemp farmers in the state for certifications to grow marijuana.

Janel Ralph is the CEO of ReBotanicals, one of the first hemp farms in South Carolina. She got involved in the cannabis business because of her daughter, who has a rare, debilitating condition.

“Modern medicine had failed her,” Ralph said.

“There were no more pharmaceuticals we could give her. They ran out of options, so we did a Hail Mary.”

Judy Ghanem’s 16-year-old daughter Kira has autism and is non-verbal. 

“She has extremely aggressive behaviors; not all the time, but it’s definitely affecting her quality of life,” Ghanem said.


Medical marijuana debate continues in South Carolina

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State senators are working their way closer to a vote on a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Today’s debate was nearly eight hours, and lawmakers say they’re prepared for late nights ahead to try to get a vote on this bill by the end of the week.

Now on week three of debate on this bill to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina, senators are starting to significantly work their way through and vote on amendments to the bill.

The day started with more than 40 amendments proposed, and the potential new legislation would not allow for smoking marijuana, but only for use in the form of oils, vapes, salves, and tinctures.


Marijuana decriminalization, tax cuts among top priorities of Spartanburg lawmakers

South Carolina

With a state budget surplus of nearly $3 billion and determination to fight federal mandates, Spartanburg area lawmakers have plenty on their plates in this, the second year of the 124th session of the South Carolina General Assembly.

Bills filed address vaccine and mask mandates, abortion, critical race theory, gun rights, tax reform, election integrity, and marijuana decriminalization. There's even a bill to designate the enjoyment of antique motor vehicles as the official family-friendly pastime of South Carolina.

Here is a look at some bills and issues supported by Spartanburg area lawmakers:


Medical marijuana bill draws mixed reaction in South Carolina


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.


GOP Rep. Nancy Mace's cannabis decriminalization bill is personal – and a matter of principle

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Mace says she turned to cannabis for relief after a traumatic life event

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., has introduced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and give states control over cannabis laws and regulations.

Speaking to Fox News about the bill, named the States Reform Act, Mace discussed her previous work on cannabis reform through the state House in South Carolina. Mace pointed to her support of the state's Compassionate Care Act, which would allow people with illnesses such as cancer or glaucoma to use non-smokable forms of pot.


Student faces charges with bringing marijuana, handgun to South Carolina school, deputies say

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A Wade Hampton High School student was charged after bringing marijuana and a handgun to school Tuesday, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

Two students were acting “in a suspicious manner” just before 9 a.m., which caught the administrations’ attention.

According to the sheriff’s office, a 14-year-old student was speaking to the school administrators and the school resource officer about an unrelated issue when they pulled out marijuana. The officer then searched the student to find a handgun in their pocket.

Gun taken from student at Hughes Academy in Greenville 

The student was taken into custody. Deputies said they were not aware of any thearts being made.


South Carolina AG Office Puts Brakes on Delta-8

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South Carolina is the latest state where public officials are speaking out against delta-8 THC. 

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark A. Keel recently wrote a letter to his attorney general’s office expressing his belief that state law criminalizes the possession and distribution of delta-8.

Assistant Attorney General David Jones responded back to say his office agrees, as first reported by Law360.

“Our office agrees with SLED’s essential analysis that the Hemp Farming Act did not legalize THC except as defined in lawful hemp,” Jones said in a letter to Keel last week. “If the General Assembly intended to undertake legalization of THC on the scale that the industry posits, they would have done so expressly and unambiguously.”


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