SC House kills medical cannabis on a taxing technicality

SC’s Post & Courier has the story

Seven years of work to legalize medical marijuana in South Carolina has gone up in smoke. 

With only five days remaining in the 2022 session, House leadership ruled a bill to legalize medical marijuana was actually unconstitutional, and killed the measure before members had a chance to debate it.

“Procedurally this bill is dead,” Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York, said on the House floor May 4, ending hopes of supporters.

Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, who introduced more than 1,000 amendments designed to stall its momentum, argued the legislation was a “revenue-raising bill” that legally should have originated in the House where such matters begin.

He cited a case from 2015 in which the S.C. Senate sought to raise fuel taxes for road repairs that the attorney general’s office ruled was unconstitutional due to the fact it sought to create revenue.

While other legal precedents in South Carolina allow for the Senate to create incidental revenue — like fees or penalties — medical marijuana lead sponsor Sen. Tom Davis’ bill imposed a new tax on cannabis products in addition to new licensing fees for growers and financial penalties for violating the law.

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