When you think of marijuana reform, you probably don’t think of South Carolina. South Carolina doesn’t come up a lot when people talk about states that are at the forefront of marijuana reform. South Carolina has some harsh marijuana laws on the books. A person who is caught with up to an ounce of marijuana gets 30 days in jail (misdemeanor). A second offense when possessing up to an ounce in jail bumps the jail sentence up to a year.
Selling or cultivation any amount of marijuana is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. South Carolina is home to mandatory prison sentences. It requires being caught with quite a bit of marijuana with some intent involved, but still, up to 25 years of a mandatory prison sentence for a plant is insane. There is support for marijuana reform in South Carolina according to a new poll, but not for full recreational legalization. Per The State:
According to Winthrop Poll questions asked exclusively for The State newspaper, nearly 4 in 5 S.C. residents – or 78 percent – support legalizing medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, only 39 percent of South Carolinians said they support legalizing pot for recreational use, a move opposed by 54 percent of those surveyed.
There are no doubt countless people suffering in South Carolina that would benefit from medical marijuana legalization. South Carolina doesn’t appear to be ready to get behind full legalization, but I expect support to grow as reform continues to spread across the country. I would have been curious to see what level of support there would be for South Carolina to decriminalize marijuana.
It’s not as good as legalization obviously, but I would bet that support for decriminalization would be overwhelming, and it would be a model of reform that I think would be benefit South Carolina in the immediate. If you live in South Carolina, I’d contact your elected officials and put the bug in their ear, both about decriminalization and medical marijuana legalization.