As medicinal cannabis continues to sweep the globe and new legalization legislation is introduced, voted on, and passed, even those who used to prosecute people for cannabis and other drug crimes are beginning to see the green light. Case in point is South Carolina’s State Representative Peter M. McCoy, Jr, an attorney at McCoy & Stokes, LLC who also serves as a Republican Rep for Charleston County. McCoy has years of experience in criminal defense cases, such as drug, DUI, and family law, and personal injury cases, leading him to prosecute “thousands of drug, drug trafficking” cases in addition to violent crimes like manslaughter and armed robbery. Despite his past and current prosecution cases, McCoy has decided to back legal cannabis oil in South Carolina.
South Carolina’s Cannabis Laws
According to NORML, South Carolina is extremely hard on cannabis possession, sale, trafficking, and cultivation. One ounce or less will result in 30 days in jail and a $200 fine (a second offense will get you one year in jail, and a $2,000 fine). Trafficking less than 10 lbs of cannabis is a felony in the palmetto state, and results in five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Cultivation is also a felony, carrying the same prison terms and fine. Possession of 10 grams or less of hash is a 30-day, $200 misdemeanor (possession of over 10 grams results in the 5-year, $5,000 fine standard). Getting caught with a bong will get you a $500 fine, as well. (South Carolina is not messing around, here).
Why McCoy Wants Cannabis Oil Legalized
In such a cannabis-conservative state, why is a star drug case prosecutor standing up and standing out for cannabis oil legalization? The answer is quite simple – his daughter has what’s known as infantile spasms (seizures), a type of childhood epilepsy. Infantile spasms are a rare seizure disorder that usually occurs in children under one year of age. McCoy’s daughter is now five years old, and the spasms are still present. Like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (another type of epilepsy that often shows improvement with cannabis and no other type of treatment), infantile spasms are notoriously difficult to control. Only about 2,500 children are diagnosed with infantile spasms per year in the United States; it is often so subtle that it is hardly recognizable. The disorder can cause developmental disabilities and autism, and late diagnosis can increase these difficulties. Symptoms of infantile spasms usually occur in otherwise normal, healthy children as slight head bobs that increase in frequency over time, and can even cause children to bend over completely with head to knees, and then straighten the body out again. Infantile spasms can be frightening for both parents and children.
McCoy believes that cannabis oil, low in THC (the mind-altering substance in cannabis), can be used to treat his daughter’s condition successfully, and also that research has shown that cannabis can be used for pain treatments, as well. McCoy believes that South Carolina should allow medical cannabis treatments prescribed by physicians in order to help children like his daughter and others who suffer with similar conditions.