Pubdate: Tue, 20 Mar 2018
Source: State, The (SC)
Copyright: 2018 The State
Author: Maayan Schechter


An S.C. Senate panel quickly killed a proposal Tuesday that would have
created a study committee to research the effects of cannabidiol oil
- -- an active ingredient found in marijuana -- on prison inmates with
physical and mental illnesses.

The oil -- used sometimes in place of prescription drugs -- can be an
effective treatment for people who suffer from epilepsy, schizophrenia
and seizures, supporters say.

Originally suggested as a pilot program by state Rep. Mike Pitts, S.C.
House budget writers adopted the proviso -- or one-year rule -- as
part of the House's 2018-'19 budget proposal in March.

The proposal would have given the S.C. Department of Corrections
authorization to start a pilot program to study the oil's effects. The
program was to be voluntary, and inmates would not have been forced to
join it, the Laurens Republican said.

However, the idea never was supported by the state Corrections
Department, which did not ask for it.

"I thought it was a joke," state Sen. Shane Martin, R-Spartanburg, who
chairs the Senate's criminal justice subcommittee, said Tuesday.

Currently, the use of cannabidiol oil is not allowed under current
U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. However, like some
other states, South Carolina has a state law, Julian's Law, that
allows patients with certain forms of epilepsy to use cannabidiol oil.

But using the oil on prison inmates is a step too far, said state Sen.
Greg Hembree, R-Horry.

"Testing medical procedures on prisoners sounds like something out of
really dark history in America," Hembree said Tuesday. "Sounds like
something out of a movie."
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