After losing a son to opioid addiction last year, a conservative South Carolina Republican is co-sponsoring a medical marijuana bill in the state’s General Assembly, according to a March 27, 2017, article by the Associated Press.
State Rep. Eric Bedingfield said he believes medical marijuana can help people overcome opioid addiction.
“My mindset has changed from somebody who looked down on it as a negative substance to saying, ‘This has benefits,'” Bedingfield said.
The bill has attracted support from other South Carolina Republicans. State Rep. Jonathon Hill, a co-sponsor of the bill, said he supports medical marijuana after hearing the story of Bill Davis, a Christian author and Bible-study leader for people struggling with drug addictions. Davis was prescribed an experimental medicine for his idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, but the side-effects were “horrible.” Vaping marijuana, which allows him to control the levels of the psychoactive and medicinal chemicals, has better helped him cope.
Having heard Davis’s story, Hill said, “He is living, walking proof that there can be some very real benefits.”
Another Republican co-sponsor, state Rep. Bill Herbkersman, said marijuana helped his brother regain an appetite and cope with pain due to a skin cancer that took his life in 2011.
“We shouldn’t be forcing a choice between breaking the law or not taking care of members of your family,” Herbkersman said.
Last month, the House bill made it out of a subcommittee to the full medical committee. An identical bill is being considered in a Senate subcommittee.