COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina House has passed a bill allowing people suffering from severe epilepsy to legally use oil derived from marijuana to control their seizures.
The overwhelming 90-24 vote Wednesday brought tears from supporters who have spent weeks educating conservative legislators on the bill.
The measure allows people certified by a doctor as suffering from severe epilepsy, or their parents, to legally possess non-psychoactive cannabidiol, known as CBD oil.
WEB EXTRA: Click here to read the full bill
The Senate passed its own version last week, which is sponsored by Senate Republican Tom Davis.
"It doesn't really fit into a pigeon hole in terms of 'this is what Democrats' and 'this is what Republicans' are for," Davis told WBTV in February. He introduced the bill soon after WBTV started airing investigations into CBD oils. "I think it's immoral to not allow it."
But supporters say it's so restrictive it provides no practical access to the potentially life-changing liquid treatment.
"I am determined to see this thing through," he said. "It's not about headlines. It's not about going in and staking out a political position for rhetoric purposes. It's about providing relief to children who are suffering horribly."
South Carolina state Senator Lindsey Graham, a well known conservative, agrees.
"I'm against legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes," Graham told WBTV. "But when it comes to medicinal marijuana and this oil, I think politicians should embrace what makes sense. When it comes to issues like this, I don't want to be academic in thought. This is about people. This is about families with sick children. Why should someone in my position get in the way of helping a child, if you can reasonably and logically do it?"
Jill Swing of Mount Pleasant says Wednesday's vote makes her optimistic she won't have to move to Colorado to help her 6-year-old daughter, who can suffer from hundreds of seizures an hour.