Davis’ push for medical marijuana passes Senate, now for the House vote
COLUMBIA – It took seven years and another three weeks of the state Senate’s time but Sen. Tom Davis’ Compassionate Care Act finally made it through … at least the Senate.
Now the legislation, more commonly known as the medical marijuana bill, must get past the state House and the Governor before it can begin offering relief to those that need it.
Only patients with “qualifying conditions” such as cancer, PTSD and terminal patients with less than a year to live will be eligible to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
South Carolina, until that bill becomes law, is one of 13 states that do not legally allow its residents the relief of medical marijuana.
Reps. Bill Herbkersman and Weston Newton, R-Hilton Head, have taken the lead to get the bill (H.3361) past the House and to the governor’s desk before May 12, the end of the 2021-2022 session.
The Senate bill passed last week on a 28 to 15 vote, 62 percent of the Republican senators and 68 percent of the Democrats approving, as Davis said after the vote “showing representative government at work.”
The legislation, while opposed by the law enforcement community until the end, was generally supported by public polls. So why did it take so long?
Hold onto your seats; Cannon Building still in the race
BEAUFORT – Last week’s review by the city’s Historic District Review Board of Dick Stewart’s proposed three-story apartment complex on the corner of Charles and Port Republic Street, resulted in a delay of final approval.
But not without interesting discussion.
As usual, opinion about the project was divided, half the audience – and the board itself – liked the proposed project and the other, well, not so enthusiastic.
But since Stewart and his 303 Associates’ project has already received conceptual and preliminary approval, it appears the controversial Cannon Building with its 19 apartments and first-floor commercial space is going to get built, one way or the other.
The question now is how it will look.
Stewart, who got more than his three minutes to address the board, contends some folks in the community aren’t gonna support the project if it looked like heaven complete with pearly gates.
He may be right, but public comment seems to be resigned to its construction with some actually excited about the prospect of more residential opportunities in the downtown area.
Again, the question now before the Review Board is how’s it gonna look?
Graham Trask, downtown property owner who, along with the Historic Beaufort Foundation, is appealing the city’s approval of Stewart’s other projects – the parking garage and proposed hotel on Scott Street, called into question Review Board Member Mike Sutton’s potential conflict of interest since his wife’s business rents space from 303 Associates.
Trask, who has his own issues working with the county’s zoning appeals board for a coffee and doughnut shop on Lady’s Island, even asked the state ethics committee about that conflict but, as city attorney Bill Harvey reported, the relationship is not considered a legal conflict.
That brings to mind the recent conflict issue raised about city development director David Prichard’s relationship to 303 Associates since his wife works there. In Prichard’s case, he’s to recuse himself from further dealings with 303 projects.
Stewart, who owns several properties in the downtown area, has been an advocate for more residential space in the area as a way to energize economic development. But while there are a few second-floor residences along Bay Street, most are short-term rentals.
Stewart is also the developer, along with USC Beaufort, of the “high-rise” dorm buildings along Boundary Street, a project some review board members pointed to as examples of what they didn’t want to see on Port Republic Street.
So Stewart’s architect was sent back to the drawing board with instructions to come up with another look for the exterior. Something a five-member panel can agree on. Probably not something the whole community will ever endorse.
Aldi announced for Burton area; No word yet on Harris Teeter
BEAUFORT – There was much rejoicing last week when the city public information officer announced an Aldi grocery story would be part of the proposed new shopping center, Beaufort Station.
Plans were finalized last month for the new center, to be located at the intersection of Robert Smalls Parkway and the Parris Island Gateway, across from Cross Creek where Walmart, T.J. Maxx and JCPenney are located.
Social media practically exploded with folks excited about the news, although more than one comment was made that an Aldi has been planned for Bluffton for the past two years and nothing has happened.
And speaking of nothing happening, no official word yet on the long-awaited, much-anticipated Harris Teeter on Lady’s Island.
Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer and former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today, Beaufort Today and The Robesonian (Lumberton, N.C.). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.