The political, cultural and legal climate surrounding marijuana use in the United States is changing. But while some states have legalized recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, you can still face serious penalties for possessing or trafficking marijuana in South Carolina.
Consider the plight of one man in the southern part of the state. The 66-year-old's wife suffers from a range of medical problems, including chronic pulmonary disease and fibromyalgia. The husband and wife have been married for 40 years, and he says he has a "moral obligation to make [his] wife as comfortable as possible."
She takes a variety of medications, but the husband says marijuana is particularly helpful in improving her appetite and helping her sleep.
Unfortunately, the husband was charged with trafficking marijuana, and authorities in Beaufort County seized 137 marijuana plants that were growing in the couple's back yard. The husband reportedly cooperated with investigators and even offered coffee to them while they worked.
The man said his neighbors were aware of the plants and didn't have a problem with them being in the back yard. He believes a person who was visiting one of the neighbors told authorities about the plants.
The woman's condition is such that she requires almost constant care, according to her husband. He was allowed by investigators to arrange for his wife's care while he turned himself in after tests confirmed that the plants were marijuana.
Since a law was passed in 1980, medical marijuana has been legal in South Carolina, but you have to receive the drug from the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control. Oddly, though, a spokesperson from that department said that marijuana has never been distributed by the DHEC.
Given the recent legalization of marijuana use in some states, the penalties for marijuana-related crimes in South Carolina may seem severe. In any case, people who have been accused of drug crimes need to be aware of their legal options for fighting the charges.
Source: The State, "66-year-old Bluffton man tells police pot eases wife's medical conditions," Matt McNab, June 13, 2013