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Home » Newspaper News

Medical Marijuana has been legal since 1980

April 22, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy



Legalization of marijuana has been a controversial topic ever since the 1960s. But no one would ever expect that South Carolina, the conservative state, surprisingly has had marijuana legal since 1980.

In 1980 governor Richard Riley signed the controlled Substances Therapeutic Act of 1980.  Section 44-53-650 of the act states a person may obtain marijuana for medical purposes as long as he/she has a prescription from a doctor.  The reality is different.

 The federal law does not permit the use of marijuana, so the act has never made medical marijuana available in S.C.

However, there are some people who claim to need the use of medical marijuana, like a little 6-year old girl named Mary Louise.

Mary Louise Swing suffers from dangerous, debilitating seizures 100 times an hour.

Her grandmother, Harriett Hilton, says the 6-year-old has been dealing with some form of the seizures since she was just 6 months old.

"She doesn't talk; she cannot walk without being held because of the seizures. Without any medications, she has up to 200 seizures an hour, and even with the medications she'll have anywhere between 20 and 60," said Hilton.

The family is now pushing to legalize an alternative medicine, a cannabis compound known as CBD. The oil contains no THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that can make an individual feel high.

A small dose of CBD, commonly mixed with food, can have calming effects. It is something Hilton says Mary Louise is in desperate need of.

Now, they have got the support of a Senator Davis, who has sponsored the bill to legalize the use of CBD in S.C.

His bill only allows that the marijuana can be used when prescribed by a physician and for the sole purpose of relieving debilitating conditions.

"If I had a daughter that was 6 years old and had epileptic seizures that were up to 100 an hour, I would move heaven and earth to find relief," said Davis.

In Columbia, The S.C Senate passed a bill Wednesday that could benefit those who have severe epilepsy by giving them access to a type of marijuana extract.

The bill, S. 1035 directs the state to work with the federal government to bring medical marijuana to South Carolina. The Medical University of South Carolina did a clinical trial for a drug that used a marijuana extract called cannabidiol oil.

The extract does not include the chemical THC, associated with the “high” effects of marijuana. “A modest bill, a small step toward,” Davis said of the bill on the senate floor.


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