Medical marijuana proposal on this year's Democratic primary ballot

Palmetto Harmony products made from whole-plant oil made from part of Cannabis plant (Source: WMBF News)
Palmetto Harmony products made from whole-plant oil made from part of Cannabis plant (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -  South Carolina's primary election is coming up and this year medical marijuana is a question on the Democratic ballot.

South Carolina legislatures are taking a poll to see how many people are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.  The yes or no question reads: "Do you support passing a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients?"

"It gives our legislatures more ammunition when they go into their next session that say hey here we put this on the ballot this is what at least the Democratic voters are saying," said Horry County Democratic Party Chairman Donald Kohn.

One family run business out of Conway called Palmetto Harmony is in support of what medical marijuana could do patients, like 9- year-old Harmony, who has a genetic brain condition. Lissencephaly or "smooth brain" causes lack of brain development and seizures. "She was on tons of pharmaceutical medications and having hundreds of seizures a day and my mom finally was like we have to do something," stated Social Media Analyst Conleigh Newsom with Palmetto Harmony.

Newsom's mother, Janel Ralph, created Palmetto Harmony products and is the Executive Director of Compassionate South Carolina. Palmetto Harmony said its products are organic whole-plant oil made from the premium part of the cannabis Sativa L plant. All of them are tested from "seed-to-sale" by a third party lab and grown in compliance with the Federal Farm Bill of 2014 under a state-run agricultural research program.

After 4 years of using CBD oil for Harmony, her entire quality of life is improving. Newsom explained, "I've heard her say hi and that's something someone with her condition would never be able to do. She has a 90 percent seizure reduction and an 85 percent pharmaceutical reduction and I think is taking only two medications a day."

CBD oil is legal in all 50 states and can be used for not only epilepsy, but Newsom said for arthritis, migraines, anxiety, depression, and other kinds of pain. "There's a line between CBD and medical marijuana and if this was readily available to someone like my sister there's no telling the health benefits we could reach and pursue," Newsom added.  "To see her thrive the way she is now is really special."

Personally, for Kohn, he said his sister suffered from epilepsy and said she could have benefited from medical marijuana, too. "When you look at the number of people that are suffering, in my own case, my wife can't take an INSED drug so that doesn't give her a lot of options, and this would be another option she would have. So, people with severe pain, people with epilepsy could benefit,  or PTSD because we have a lot of veterans in this area, too"

"I think if people were better informed, we aren't talking about making this a social issue, were talking about this for medical reasons, so from that perspective it should be something we're all behind. It is backed by virtually every Democrat but there are Republicans who are in favor too, it's been getting stronger support in the legislature every year and it looks like 2019 may be our year."

The latest bill in the State House is sponsored by Republican State Senator Tom Davis. The medical cannabis bill made it to the Senate floor, but the legislative session ended before it was voted on.

The 2018 primary election is on June 12.

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