A medical marijuana bill in South Carolina died unexpectedly on a technicality.
A state House leader ruled that the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, S. 150, couldn’t be considered by lawmakers further because it included an unconstitutional tax increase, the Associated Press reported.
The Senate had passed the measure in February by a 28-15 vote.
The decision in the House reportedly stunned Senate leaders and added to an already strained relationship between the two chambers.
The MMJ legalization effort has been led by Sen. Tom Davis since 2015.
Davis said he believed the bill had enough votes to pass the lower chamber, according to the AP, and that opponents resorted to a last-ditch procedural maneuver to kill it with just days left in the legislative session.
But he said he would continue to fight to legalize medical marijuana, even looking at options during the remaining days of the session.
“There’s frustration. Seven years worth of work. Seven years worth of public testimony,” Davis said, according to the AP.
Davis had drafted a purposely restrictive measure to improve its chances of passage in a conservative legislature.
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The only medical marijuana products allowed would have been oils, salves, patches or vaporizers.
The measure called for 15 cultivators, 30 processing facilities and one “therapeutic cannabis pharmacy” for every 20 pharmacies in the state, or about 65, according to a Marijuana Policy Project bill summary.