Myrtle Beach-area reps say no to medical cannabis oil; gubernatorial mudslinging and reader response

For Weekly SurgeApril 8, 2014 

This week from Under the Outhouse, a few Horry County representatives stop thinking of the children, the governor’s race heats up, and a reader responds.

Horry County Statehouse Reps Vote Against Medical Cannabis

During the past few weeks this column has dedicated coverage to the fight in the S.C. State House to legalize the therapeutic use of medical cannabidiol (CBD). The debate over CBD oil began in February when Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) filed a bill to legalize the medical use of the natural compound found in marijuana. Davis’ bill was a response to medical needs of a 6-year-old girl from Mt. Pleasant who suffers from a debilitating form of epilepsy that can cause up to 100 seizures an hour. “I want to legally empower MUSC and its epileptologists to prescribe CBD oil to those with intractable epilepsy like Mary Louise,” Davis said after filing his bill. However, as Davis points out, South Carolina law prohibits the use of CBD in patients. “That is morally wrong, and the purpose of S1035 is to jumpstart a process to remove those legal barriers.”

The Senate unanimously passed Davis’ bill on March 26, and last week, the S.C. House voted on its own version of a CBD legalization bill, approving it 90-24. However, three Horry County Representatives -- Alan Clemmons, Mike Ryhal, and Heather Ammons Crawford (all Republicans) -- voted against this potentially lifesaving bill. Why? We will be making contact with the three representatives for an explanation. Fortunately, these three votes were not crucial to the passing of this important bill.

“It is amazing how many people's lives in S.C. would be changed for the better if CBC oil were legalized,” Davis posted on Facebook after the House bill passed. “There's a ways to go with this bill, but we will get it done.”

The Gubernatorial Mudslinging Begins

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial challenger Vincent Sheheen launched a new 30-second video ad accusing Republican incumbent Gov. Nikki Haley of “failing South Carolina” by vetoing education funding and teacher pay. As expected, the ad blames South Carolina’s falling graduation rates and soaring college tuition costs on Haley. Sheheen is not incorrect in claiming Haley has been bad on education, but not quite in the way that he would like voters to believe. With Haley’s January proposal for $160 million in increased education spending, she is more in line with Democrats than conservatives when it comes to education policy. And, the soaring cost in tuition is more likely attributed to the South Carolina Education Lottery -- the creation of former Governor, Democrat Jim Hodges, who endorsed Sheheen in 2010.

Sheheen also is under attack from the Republican Governors Association for his support of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare. In the RGA’s recent ad, Powdersville resident and mother-of-two Mary Hagan tells about her family’s struggle affording the 30-percent health insurance premium increase she says is a result of ObamaCare. “It’s not been affordable at all,” says Hagan. “I don’t trust ObamaCare for my family, and I don’t trust Vincent Sheheen for supporting it." Of course, Sheheen had no role in passing ObamaCare, and his support of ObamaCare largely follows the national party line. But, in an election year that will be defined by ObamaCare, this fact is of little help to Sheheen where weary voters will likely see any support of ObamaCare as a direct endorsement from Obama himself. Strangely, Sheheen’s campaign responded to RGA’s attack ads by remixing one that features Chris Christie, and in effect, calls Christie out wanting to keep Medicaid tax dollars in the state -- as Sheheen wishes to do. Unfortunately for Sheheen, South Carolina already has a liberal Republican for governor -- and she’s running against him.

A Reader Responds

“I enjoyed your analysis of American politics. It was refreshing to read something so unbiased in SURGE, which is traditionally extremely leftist (now there's an oxymoron). The only thing I question is placing Rick Santorum and Dianne Feinstein in the same quadrant…let alone the same planet.” - Steve C.

Politics gets weird, Steve, as attempting to plot politicians on the political quadrant indicates. Yet, I stand by my placement of both Santorum Feinstein. As for Feinstein, her vocal support of the Obama administration’s domestic spying, which violates the Constitution’s 4th Amendment in about every way imaginable, is a hallmark of an authoritarian philosophy. Similarly, Santorum’s avowed social agenda, which includes morality-saving proposals like banning pornography, is also indicative of an authoritarian philosophy, just in a different way. Additionally, both politicians are fiscal liberals when it comes to government spending and programs (see Santorum’s support of No Child Left Behind, and Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drug reform). Republicans should be wary about their support of Santorum. He is a fiscal liberal parading as a so-called “true” conservative, and his iron-fisted approach to social issues would make him one of the most dangerous men in America should voters ever be suckered into letting him back in public office.

Andrew Davis is a Myrtle Beach native and former Director of Communications for the national Libertarian Party. Contact him at, or follow on Twitter at @SCPundit.

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