South Carolina Going Green?

By: Joshua Jenkins

images (14)Medical Marijuana is legal in South Carolina, and it has been since 1980; making it one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana. However, without adequate financial backing the law has been ignored.

Enter the 21st century, where many government policies have taken a more liberal turn and the legalization of marijuana hangs on the tip of every state’s legislative tongue. California has long been an emerald beacon when it comes to the legalization of medical cannabis and with the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington many states are now re-evaluating their controlled substance lists.

South Carolina may be following suit … in the medicinal realm that is.

House Minority Leader, Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia), filed legislation in March 2014 to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat severe illnesses in South Carolina. A poll on the public’s opinion towards medical marijuana was added to the South Carolina Democrats primary ballot as well. The poll, said Rep. Rutherford, is intended to let the state’s Republican leaders see what voters think of the issue.

A couple of Upstate’s very own seem to share sentiments with Rutherford concerning the issue.

“Since there has been no scientific evidence suggesting negative side effects of marijuana use I think it should be legalized, but regulated,” said Casey Strickland, a  journalism  major. “You shouldn’t be allowed to drive under the influence or operate heavy machinery, but using it medicinally has proven helpful for many people.”

The law passed in 1980 legalized medical marijuana for cancer, chemotherapy, and glaucoma patients to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort, but the new law would allow patients to use it for HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain as well. Many families, whose children need medical marijuana, have lost hope in the Palmetto State and moved to states that have friendlier marijuana laws, like Colorado.

“If it is controlled, won’t cause any harm to the public, and can help people, then why not legalize it?” said Michaela Bradley, a nursing major.

It may take a while for such legislation to be passed in South Carolina, but many would agree the fact that the legalization of medical marijuana is even being discussed is a step in the right direction.