Veterans in South Carolina spoke up at a virtual press conference on March 1, asking state officials to implement a medical cannabis program.
Lawmakers in the state have already proposed a medical cannabis program, entitled the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (or individually referred to as Senate Bill 150 or House Bill 3361). If passed, this act would legalize medical cannabis consumption for patients who qualify with certain medical conditions. It would also require a doctor’s certification before allowing any patients to purchase cannabis as medicine.
Many individuals from the veterans group voiced why they want a medical program in their state, and how medical cannabis could benefit their community. “I am one of thousands of veterans who depend on medical cannabis to ease our pain and suffering. South Carolina needs to stop treating us like criminals and take patients off the battlefield in its war on marijuana,” said Montel Williams, a decorated naval officer and TV personality.
Steven Dias, a US Marine Corps veteran who serves as project manager for Hidden Wounds, also spoke out regarding how cannabis can help many people as a medicine. “Veterans suffer both psychical and emotional wounds and expect adequate care. When that care is insufficient, many turn to medical cannabis for relief. They should not have to fight another battle at home or feel ashamed because they want to heal,” Dias said.
Next up was a woman who went by J, who served in the army for eight years. “Cannabis has been a far more effective treatment for me than opioids. Opioids left me dependent and didn’t help my pain, my trauma, or my mood. Within weeks of medicating with cannabis, my pain was minimal, my kidney function improved, and my depression lifted. But the medicine that saves my life everyday is illegal in South Carolina. I am asking my fellow South Carolinians, please support your veterans by asking your legislators to support compassionate legislation to bring this relief to everyone who needs it,” said J.An analysis provided by the Marijuana Policy Project states that medical cannabis could bring in approximately $112 million in tax revenue, and at least 1,500 new jobs to the state.