2017-01-11 / State News

Medical marijuana bill gaining support in SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the opening day of the 2017 legislative session (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

A proposal legalizing medical use of marijuana in South Carolina is gaining support in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Supporters said Tuesday it’s time for politicians to allow people who are seriously ill or suffering from chronic pain to benefit from a plant that is a far better option than additive prescription opioids.

Republican Rep. Eric Bedingfield of Belton says he’s tired of seeing people suffering unnecessarily. Bedingfield was among about 10 legislators at a news conference explaining their support. Democratic Sen. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg says state law should not force patients seeking relief to be labeled criminals.

Law enforcement officials have opposed previous bills, saying marijuana supposedly for medical use would instead be used socially.

GOP Sen. Tom Davis of Beaufort says he hopes this year's bill addresses their concerns with seed-to-sale tracking, lab testing and patient registration.

Twenty-eight states have passed medical marijuana laws.

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