HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A handful of states voted to allow medical marijuana use during the presidential election, raising the count to 28. Now South Carolina may be next in line.
Medical marijuana was first introduced as a bill in 2015, but fell flat in committee before ever coming to a vote. Now a new bill is in the works that could make medical marijuana legal, and a coalition of parents and business owners are hoping this time will be different.
Judy Ghanem's daughter Kira was born with a rare genetic disorder, and was also recently diagnosed with Autism. She says she began giving Kira cannabis oil, after her prescribed medication began showing harmful side effects.
"When she began having these uncontrolled movements of her mouth, I had no idea it was the medication." said Ghanem. "If a doctor's office calls you and says that the side effects could become permanent, that's pretty alarming to a parent."
CBD oil was made legal back in 2014 after a bill sponsored by state senator Tom Davis, which passed in the senate, 92 to 5. One of the five nay-sayers was state representative Dan Hamilton.
"I did vote no. At the time I really just didn't have enough evidence and information to make a decision about that large of a change to our state without enough evidence to see that the benefit would out-weigh the cost." said Hamilton.
If a new medical marijuana bill is brought to the table, Hamilton says he'll stick to his principals, but also keep an open mind. "I look at everything fresh and new and I have not made up my mind at this point," he said.
Janel Ralph is a founder of SC Compassion, a group of parents whose mission is to see medical marijuana become available for patients who need it.
"At the end of the day, it's really about giving the doctors another option or choice, and parents or patients the choice to treat with something that is more natural, has no side effects, has no addictive properties to it and allows for the patients to have a better quality of life." said Ralph.
"People are conservative here. I'm conservative myself. But when it comes to this type of situation, I hope that people can put their partisanship aside and do what's best for the people that live in their state." said Ghanem.
Representative Dan Hamilton says one of his concerns is that doctors may over-prescribe marijuana to patients who may not actually need it. WMBF News also reached out to the other state politicians who voted against these types of bills in the past, but have not gotten a call back.