Monterey Bud: The Palmetto State Primary, A Guide to South Carolina’s Vote

It’s Tuesday, June 12, 2018, which can only mean one thing in South Carolina: the state’s primary election is now underway. As Democrats, Republicans and independents contemplate which  gubernatorial candidate best represents their collective values, Democratic voters in the Palmetto State will have a chance to support those candidates who back medicinal cannabis.

In South Carolina, both Republicans and Democrats will be asked to vote on two non-binding questions. Considered advisory questions only, the response to these ballot questions will not  alter existing policy. Instead, the results will be used to justify future policies embraced by South Carolina’s elected officials.

While South Carolina’s Democrats will be asked about Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana, Republicans will contemplate the state’s tax code and party affiliation.

Democrats are asking about medical marijuana and Medicaid:

  • Should South Carolina legalize medicinal cannabis and allow doctors to prescribe it for qualifying patients?
  • Should South Carolina pass a law mandating the state accept all federal revenues offered to support Medicaid and Medicaid expansion?

Republicans are inquisitive about taxes and party affiliation:

  • Should South Carolina voters have the choice to affiliate with a political party when they register to vote or change their voter registration in South Carolina?
  • Should South Carolina’s tax code conform with the new Trump tax cuts in the federal code for maximum simplification and to lower the overall tax burden on South Carolina taxpayers and businesses?

While five candidates from the GOP are vying for attention on the June 12 ballot, there are three Democrats throwing their proverbial hat in the ring. And, provided no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, a runoff election will be held on June 26, 2018, between the top two candidates for each party.

The vote in South Carolina could have an influential impact on the future of cannabis policy in the state. Before heading off to the polls to cast your primary ballot, it’s critical to understand where the candidates stand on marijuana policy.

Of the nine candidates running for governor of South Carolina, only Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Kevin Bryant, Republican gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton, and Martin Barry, running as the candidate for the American Party of South Carolina, responded to a questionnaire posed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Templeton and Barry support medical cannabis, while Bryant said he favors a limited introduction of cannabis. Bryant wrote, We don’t want to be Colorado, but we want to explore all options to alleviate pain and suffering for those at the end of life.”

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