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Vets in South Carolina Push for Medical Pot

Many South Carolina military veterans are trying to get the law in place for medical marijuana. 

Local news station WACH reports this week on the group of vets, who “say it needs to be a top priority for lawmakers when they return to the state house in January after several proposals were stopped in their tracks earlier this year.”

“No one has died from an overdose with cannabis ever,” Cody Callarman, a former member of the Marine corps, told the news station. “For me, I can say, it definitely helps me to go to sleep and stay sleep and alleviate a lot of nightmares.”

“I say this is the land of the free, and the home of the brave, and we were the brave ones. We should have our choice of medical treatment,” Callarman added.

Another veteran named Robert Leheup told the station that the “idea of us not allowing veterans to have access to these tools is something that we need to remedy immediately.”

“It’s definitely one of those things that if you use it, along with counseling for example, it has the potential to have profound impacts,” Leheup told the station. 

South Carolina lawmakers considered legislation to legalize medical cannabis earlier in the year. It was passed by the state Senate. However, in May it was rejected by the state House of Representatives. 

Republican State Senator Tom Davis is the sponsor of this bill. He has been at the forefront of efforts to legalize medical marijuana treatment in his state for many years. 

“If you pound at the door long enough. Make your case. If the public is asking for something, the state Senate owes a debate,” Davis said in January. “The people of South Carolina deserve to know where their elected officials stand on this issue.”

Davis expressed his appreciation to his fellow legislators after the law was passed in February by the state Senate. 

“Even those that were opposed to the bill, I mean, they could’ve just been opposed. They could’ve ranted against it, they could’ve tried to delay things. They didn’t. While they voiced their concern, what followed was to dig in and try to fix the bill. And so, what you saw over the last three weeks is what’s supposed to happen in a representative democracy,” Davis said at the time.

But in May, Davis’s bill was rejected by his counterparts in the state House of Representatives by a vote of 59-55.

“We suffered a setback procedurally in the House today,” Davis said at the time. “I can’t cry about it. I can’t pout about it. I can’t come back and lash out and try to hurt other people’s bills. That’s not productive. I just need to find out a way to get this thing on the merits up or down in the House and that’s what I’m going to be working on.”

There will be opposition if lawmakers vote to adopt the bill in the coming session.

WACH, local news station, quoted Vic Dabney (state House Representative), who stated that he plans to challenge the new legislation.

“I know a lot of veterans that are not sitting down eating gummy bears laced with cannabis,” Dabney told the station. “We’ve got enough drugged up people in America as it is.”

“It was going to be another government program and a huge boondoggle where you’d have more than 400 dispensaries across the state,” Dabney added. “That was further reasons for me to vote against it.”