By Celeste Stiles June 2, 2014
Correction — An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the bill became law without Gov. Haley’s signature.
COLUMBIA, SC — A bill to allow limited medical marijuana access for children with severe epilepsy to help control their seizures was signed into law Monday by Governor Nikki Haley.
The bill, Senate Bill 1035, will allow children with severe epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil (CBD oil), a non-psychoactive concentrate derived from marijuana, to help control their seizures if recommended by their physician.
The bill will also establish a clinical trial at the Medical University of South Carolina to study the effects of cannabidiol in controlling seizures. The university will also be responsible for supplying all of the cannibidiol oil for the state program.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate, followed by a 92-5 vote in the House a day later. The bill was ratified Thursday, and the Governor signed the bill into law Monday.
The bill would also set up a committee to study the feasibility of growing the marijuana strains from which CBD oil is extracted in South Carolina. Those strains are high in CBD content but low in THC, the component of marijuana that has psychoactive properties.
However, that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reclassify CBD oil, as the cannabis plant remains a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government, despite over 30 states and the nation’s capital having enacted laws to allow some form of medical marijuana.
In addition to South Carolina, several other states – Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin – have enacted similar CBD-only medical marijuana bills this year. The Missouri legislature has also passed a similar bill, and is awaiting action by Governor Jay Nixon, who is expected to sign the bill sometime this month.
In addition, 22 states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive medical marijuana laws, yet the federal government maintains that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medicinal value.
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