South Carolinian voters voted on Tuesday, June 12 in an advisory ballot measure to legalize medical cannabis.
According to Forbes, this particular advisory ballot doesn’t immediately change any laws. According to the official 2018 Primary Advisory Questions website, “These questions are advisory in nature only and have no binding effect.” Still, these results are allowing state lawmakers to get an idea of how the voters feel. “It’s an issue that is becoming a larger part of the legislative and criminal justice discussions in S.C.,” said Brady Quirk-Garvan, chairman of the Charleston County Democratic Party. “This is a great tool to allow us to gauge how Democratic voters feel on this issue.”
The recent results, which are still considered “unofficial” at the time of this writing, show that 81 percent of voters are in favor of medical cannabis legalization. The question was phrased as follows: “Do you support passing a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients?”
While residents of South Carolina have shown immense support for medical cannabis, state lawmakers have yet to follow up with that enthusiasm. Both the South Carolina House and Senate initially approved of medical cannabis bills earlier this year, however they were never considered.
Originally, U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles expected both the Democratic and Republican parties to place the cannabis-related question on their ballots, but only the Democratic party agreed to do so.
Voters also reflected their positive support of medical cannabis earlier in a poll from January, with 61 percent of voters in support of legalization and 31 percent against it.
South Carolina is beginning to make strides toward medical cannabis, like many other states, but the state already has a well-established industrial hemp program. As a part of the 2019 South Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, South Carolina projected to have each of its 20 approved farmers to grow 20 acres of hemp. That harvest is set to occur sometime this month, and with success, more pilot programs are soon to follow.