SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - South Carolina lawmakers will soon be debating a bill that would legalize the use of medical marijuana for certain medical conditions.
State Senator Tom Davis of Beaufort is proposing the bill. He hopes to get social conservatives on board during this session.
The bill would legalize everything from smokable marijuana to oil for those medical purposes. Davis said with proper education, he'll get the support he needs.
Davis spends his working days as an attorney - a far cry from a medical expert. He said his stance on medical marijuana changed when he met a little girl whose life was changed by using it.
"Once you've seen that, once you've seen the difference it can make in people's lives, you become an evangelist for the cause. It doesn't matter what your background is," said Davis, a Republican representing Beaufort and Jasper counties.
We met a family last year from Georgia with a similar story. Brian Palmer gives his daughter a different oil, called hemp oil. He said that oil and CBD oil drastically improved her condition.
"She went from having hundreds of seizures a day, sometimes a couple every minute, to having probably a 100 a day," Palmer said.
Davis drafted his bill last year. It would legalize the growth, distribution, and use of various forms of marijuana for certain medical conditions. He cited studies done by the American Academy of Sciences, proving its value.
"We've got to allow doctors to get medicine into the hands of patients who need it. That's a moral and philosophical imperative. We have to get it done," the senator said.
Davis admits South Carolina's conservative lean will present challenges.
"South Carolina is a conservative state, and I want to come up with a conservative medical cannabis law," Davis said.
That includes working with law enforcers to make sure safeguards are in place to prevent recreational abuse of the drug. Davis adds that medical marijuana could also make a difference in the deadly opioid crisis killing, thousands of Americans every year.
"You know, we're talking about how to address the opioid crisis. One of the things is to have a much less dangerous and much less addictive thing be used to treat a lot of those conditions like PTSD," Davis said.
Ultimately, Davis said showing the real-life examples of lives changed by medical marijuana will convince social conservatives to pass this measure.
Davis said there will likely be concessions in his bill to garner enough support for it to pass. He said he's willing to work with anyone to make that happen. Right now, five Democrats and one Republican are co-sponsoring the bill with him.