SC Primary Elections – Gubernatorial Candidates

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The Primary elections in South Carolina are tomorrow and the polls are open beginning at 7am. This is an opportunity for medical cannabis advocates to vote for like-minded candidates seeking ballot spots for the November general election for state governor and members of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Since South Carolina does not have voter registration by party, when checking in, voters will be asked which primary they wish to vote in. If it’s the Democratic primary, one of two advisory questions on the ballot will ask if the voter supports a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. The Republican primary does not include any medical marijuana questions.

Marijuana Policy Project, a large organization seeking marijuana policy reform, has compiled a voters’ guide to inform voters where the gubernatorial candidates stand on medical cannabis in our state. The governor has an important role as after a bill is passed by both the House and the Senate, it is sent to the Governor for his or her signature. When the Governor signs the bill, it becomes a law. If the governor vetoes the bill, it moves back to the legislature. It then must secure a two-thirds vote in each house to override it; otherwise, the veto is sustained. In terms of the line-item veto, the governor of South Carolina has the power to delete specific appropriated items. The choice of governor will have a big impact on this issue.

On the Republican side, Catherine Templeton has stated several times publicly that she supports medical marijuana. She has reached out to leadership as well and had a lengthy discussion expressing her support for legalizing medical cannabis for patients with numerous debilitating conditions. Ms. Templeton stated, “I support making South Carolina the 30th state to allow seriously ill and dying patients to possess and use a limited amount of cannabis oil or supplements for medical purposes, if the patients’ doctors prescribe it.”

Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant responded to the survey stating that he supports trying this sort of treatment in a very limited and controlled clinical setting, such as hospice and end of life care. John Warren did not respond but has signaled support in the past. Henry McMaster has previously stated that he would sign the bill if law enforcement were in agreement with the bill. Law enforcement has been the strongest force against compassionate care in our state and the likelihood of that community supporting medical cannabis is not very likely, to say the least.

On the Democratic side, Representative James Smith and his running mate, Representative Mandy Powers Norrell, have both signed on as co-sponsors of the Compassionate Care Act (H3521) in the 2018 legislative season. They both have been staunch and vocal supporters of patients’ rights in South Carolina and the right to have legal access to cannabis as medicine. Both Representative Smith and Representative Norrell have spoken at several events across the state in support of medical marijuana. As a military veteran, Representative Smith knows how fellow veterans have been impacted by PTSD and that they deserve the option to a legal medication with less side effects and better results than what is currently available to them.

Marguerite Willis and Phil Noble did not answer the survey question. Although Marguerite Willis has stated in the past that she supports offering medical marijuana as a prescribed medicine for the care of the chronically ill. Phil Noble has also signaled support.

Please put this information to use as you decide which candidates to support.

MPP also questioned the state House of Representative candidates. For the results of that survey, please click here:

On Tuesday the polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. If you do not have your voter registration card or do not know your precinct name, you can find detailed information at:

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