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On her daughter’s birthday, mother urges SC lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana

mom and child, Cathy Stevens and daughter Halle
Cathy Stevens with her daughter, Halle.

Cathy Stevens, a parent advocate for her daughter Halle, writes an opinion letter in The State. In it, she urges lawmakers to pass the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S.150), which legalizes the controlled use of medical cannabis for treatment of neurological disorders (including epilepsy), MS, cancer, PTSD and other debilitating conditions.

Stevens’ daughter has a rare genetic disease resulting in uncontrolled seizures. Stevens says the strength of THC found in the full-spectrum cannabis plant is what her 12-year-old daughter needs to manage the seizures.

“Halle has brain-damaging seizures nearly every day,” Stevens writes. “And the traditional, prescription seizure medicines she is on have numerous mind-altering side effects, including sedation, hallucination, and permanent damage to her peripheral vision.

“The thought of her having THC in small to moderate doses does not worry us if it can help us stop the seizures that sometimes cause her to stop breathing. Using this plant-based medicine, I need to make sure that what I put into her body every 12 hours is consistent, high-quality, and accessible. And I need to be assured that Halle will continue to be monitored by the medical team that has become a vital part of her survival,” she adds, explaining that individuals who access medical cannabis must have a doctor’s recommendation and follow-up.

Seven years in the making, the bill, introduced by Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), will be debated further in the South Carolina Senate this week with a vote expected by week’s end.

Stevens is director of the White-Riley-Peterson Afterschool Policy Fellowship at Furman University’s Riley Institute.

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