MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW)- Medical marijuana will be a topic for South Carolina lawmakers when they return for the legislative session at the start of 2019.

Local Senator Greg Hembree filed a bill to push the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to research the use of medical marijuana.

The proposed bill urges the federal government to remove barriers to conduct research on the medicinal value of cannabis. Senator Hembree said if this passes it will send a message to the FDA.
Senator Hembree is in favor of the medicinal use of marijuana, but said it needs to be treated like every other medication.

“You don’t treat it like it’s something different. You treat it like antibiotics, you treat it like cancer drugs, and to do that it has to go through the FDA. It has to go through the regular trials and approvals, and we have to prove that it has medical advocacy and what doses. There’s a lot of questions that go along with that,” said Hembree.

Senator Hembree feels the FDA is dragging its feet when it comes to testing medical marijuana.
According the FDA’s website, a research facility at the University of Mississippi is the only place in the country authorized to grow and test marijuana for medical research.

“It calls on the FDA to speed up the process. They’re working on it and working on it, but it seems awfully slow,” said Hembree.

Senator Hembree filed this legislaton last year. It got through the senate, but didnt make it through the house.

Earlier this year, SLED announced it is against legalizing medial marijuana unless it’s regulated by the FDA, and Governor Henry McMaster agreed with the law enforcement community.
Hembree said this bill could help make that happen, and that it’s not a backdoor to legalizing marijuana.

“You dont want to put us in charge of your health future that’s just not what we’re good at. Otherwise, if we’re going to approve medical marijuana then we need to start approving cancer drugs the FDA hasn’t approved,” said Hembree.

The legislative session starts on January 8th.