COLUMBIA, SC – A rally was held Wednesday calling for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in the state of South Carolina, according to WLTX.
The event, hosted by the South Carolina Cannabis Coalition, brought together cannabis supporters at the State House in Columbia. South Carolina is not among the 24 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use or 38 that have approved it for medicinal use.
The founder of the coalition, Bob Chapman, said the time has come to reform the state’s marijuana laws and implement sensible cannabis policies.
“You don’t change the law, cannabis remains illegal but there’s no fine if you’re caught, no jail time and no court cost so it’s supposed to be treated as low as jaywalking which are very rarely issued tickets for these days, although it’s illegal everywhere,” Chapman said.
Among the speakers at the rally was State Sen. Deon Tedder, D – Charleston, who has proposed a bill that would ban law enforcement officers from searching a vehicle for probable cause if they smelled marijuana during a traffic stop.
“In my experience as an attorney I’ve seen often times an officer will use the language that they smell an odor of marijuana simply to search the car and go into a fishing expedition. There are lot of times where we aren’t required to document it, but they don’t find any marijuana in fact sometimes they find nothing and sometimes they find other things but to use that alone I think is a constitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment.”
Tedder and other advocates hope the bill will help fuel the push for overall marijuana legalization in South Carolina.
“The citizens want some action now,” Chapman said. “We’re tired of seeing other states where people can use it legally and in South Carolina we can’t. Patients who are in serious medical issues like cancer, they deserve to use any remedy that’s going to help them.”
A Winthrop University poll found that 76 percent of South Carolinians support marijuana for medicinal use and 56 percent for recreational use, according to WOLO.
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