mcloudyn.png
Sunday October 2nd, 2022 9:33PM

Procedural ruling kills medical marijuana bill in SC House

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A seven-year fight to pass a medical marijuana bill may have abruptly ended Wednesday in South Carolina when a House leader ruled the proposal contains an unconstitutional tax increase and cannot be considered further.

The decision shocked leaders in the state Senate and may have repercussions well beyond failing to make South Carolina one of about 40 states allowing patients to use marijuana as medicine.

Senate leaders, stunned to see years of hard work by respected colleague Sen. Tom Davis cast aside with no debate, said their deteriorating relationship with the House will need to be repaired after the decision. The chambers are more than $1 billion apart on a budget and threatening each other over an early voting bill.

The decision “will likely have significant consequences” between the Senate and the House and hopefully ”cooler heads can prevail," Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey said as a stunned Davis walked around talking to his colleagues.

Davis said he understood he had about 70 votes — roughly 10 more than he needed to pass the legislation. The Republican said he would spend Wednesday night looking for some other bill he might be able to attach a medical marijuana plan to that wouldn't get caught up in such a ruling. Backers are seeking to get the legislation through the General Assembly in the four days remaining in the session.

“We suffered a setback procedurally in the House today. I can't cry about it. I can't pout about it. I can't go back and lash out and hurt other people’s bills. That’s not productive," Davis said.

The House appeared to be ready to debate the bill Wednesday. One thousand amendments organized in binders had been rolled on a cart to the front of the chamber. Davis, who has fought for the bill since 2015 was in the back of the House.

But just before debate began, one of the chief opponents of the bill asked Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope to rule that a 6% fee on medical marijuana sales to pay for regulations in the bill creates a new tax — a power only allowed under the state constitution by a bill that originates in the House.

Davis' bill started in the Senate and — after considering the point for nearly three hours — Pope ruled the bill was out of order, killing it.

"This bill levies taxes in the strictest sense of the word. It is a core ingredient. It established a separate tax to create the whole infrastructure," Pope said.

House members voted 59-55 to back Pope's ruling, meaning this medical marijuana bill is dead for this year.

Davis crafted his proposal to be as conservative as possible. The bill specifies the illnesses that could be treated, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia and autism. It also states that the marijuana could only be obtained through specially chosen pharmacies.

Smoking the drug would remain illegal in South Carolina. Instead, patients would have to use oils, salves, patches or vaporizers. Doctors would have to meet patients in person and patients could only get a two-week supply at one time.

Senate leaders and House members opposed to the ruing about the tax issue said Wednesday's decision made no sense because all sorts of bills that alter taxes or raise revenue start in the Senate. They pointed out bills from increasing fines for passing a school bus to charging people extra to get specialty license tags, among other examples.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford said if Pope sticks to his ruling, it would destroy decades of work between the Senate and House.

“The bill is dead. And it is dead because the House with Speaker Pro Tem Pope decided to take complete control of the General Assembly," the Democratic leader said.

The House and Senate are ending this session with a strained relationship. The House is attaching its election proposal to a number of Senate bills to force senators to act. The Senate's budget appears to have less negotiating room than usual as senators are pushing $1 billion in tax rebates the House does not support.

Davis said opponents couldn't beat the bill on a regular vote so they tried a last ditch maneuver that worked. But he said he plans to keep fighting no matter what because he can't stop now.

“There's frustration. Seven years worth of work. Seven years worth of public testimony. Seven years worth of doctors and caregivers and moms and people coming and testifying and talking how this could make a material difference in their lives,” Davis said.

___

Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Procedural ruling kills medical marijuana bill in SC House
A seven-year fight to pass a medical marijuana bill may have ended in South Carolina when a House leader ruled the proposal would mean a tax increase and could not be considered
6:41PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Oath Keeper from NC pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group to forcefully halt the peaceful transfer of power after President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory
6:30PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Ex-cop's murder trial to remain in Fort Worth, judge rules
A judge has ruled a former Fort Worth police officer will face a murder trial next month in the city where he fatally shot a Black woman through a window of her mother's home in 2019
6:29PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Blinken tests positive for COVID; has mild symptoms
The State Department says Secretary of State Antony Blinken has tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner and related events over the weekend
5:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP sources: Donald Trump Jr. speaks with Jan. 6 committee
The oldest son of former President Donald Trump has met with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol
5:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live updates | Commander: 'Bloody battles' at steel mill
The commander of the main defending force at the Azovstal steel mill in the strategic Ukrainian port city of Mariupol says Russian troops have broken into the territory of the mill
5:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Biden showcases deficit progress in bid to counter critics
President Joe Biden is highlighting new figures showing the government’s red ink will grow less than expected this year and the national debt will shrink this quarter as he tried to counter criticism of his economic leadership and growing dismay over inflation going into midterm elections that will decide control of Congress
2:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
Live updates | Ukraine welcomes EU's proposed oil embargo
In a video message posted on Twitter, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the European Union’s decision to propose an embargo on Russian oil
12:56PM ( 5 hours ago )
Elon Musk asked to testify on Twitter by UK Parliament
A British parliamentary committee scrutinizing draft online safety legislation has invited Elon Musk to discuss his plans to buy Twitter and the changes he’s proposing for the social media platform
12:37PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
WHO: COVID continues to decline, except in Americas, Africa
The World Health Organization says the number of newly reported coronavirus cases and deaths continued to fall in the last week, continuing a global decline that first began in March
1:30PM ( 5 hours ago )
Judge: Arizona prisoner psychologically fit to be executed
A judge has ruled that an Arizona prisoner convicted in the 1978 killing of a university student is mentally fit to be put to death next week
12:36PM ( 6 hours ago )
Beijing shuts 10% of subway stations to stem COVID-19 spread
Beijing has closed 60 subway stations as an additional measure against the spread of the coronavirus
10:16AM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Health
Ukraine: Russia using 'missile terrorism' in wide attacks
Complaining that the West is “stuffing Ukraine with weapons,” Russia is bombarding railroad stations and other targets in an attempt to cut off weapons supplies
5:48PM ( 56 minutes ago )
'Corrupt to core' Caribbean premier gets bond in drug case
A federal judge in Miami has ruled that the premier of the British Virgin Islands can be released on a $500,000 bond, following his arrest on drug-smuggling charges in a U.S. government sting in South Florida
5:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
How higher Fed rates stand to affect Americans' finances
Record-low mortgages below 3% are long gone
5:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Oath Keeper from NC pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group to forcefully halt the peaceful transfer of power after President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory
6:30PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Ex-cop's murder trial to remain in Fort Worth, judge rules
A judge has ruled a former Fort Worth police officer will face a murder trial next month in the city where he fatally shot a Black woman through a window of her mother's home in 2019
6:29PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Fire crews take stand against destructive New Mexico blaze
Fire crews in New Mexico are taking a stand in their fight against the largest wildfire burning in the U.S., trying to keep the flames from pushing any closer to the town of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the blaze’s shifting fronts
6:15PM ( 28 minutes ago )
DHS disinformation board's work, plans remain a mystery
A newly formed Disinformation Governance Board remains shrouded in secrecy a week after the Biden administration’s announcement of the new effort was met with widespread criticism
6:13PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Fueled by momentum, families of hostages lobby White House
Relatives of American hostages and wrongful detainees are trying to get the Biden administration's attention in hopes of getting their loved ones home
6:12PM ( 32 minutes ago )