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Cunningham details plan to legalize marijuana in SC

Former U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham says his plan to make marijuana legal for medical and recreational use would help the state and particularly its veterans.

Cunningham, who hopes to unseat Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in November, said he would legalize marijuana and tax it, which would help the state’s economy and increase state revenue.

“It’s about bringing this out of the dark and into the light where we can regulate and tax it,” he said. “Because this has been going on for so, so long.”

He said keeping marijuana illegal negatively affects the state’s economy, poverty, crime and disproportionately affects African Americans.

But he said not legalizing the drug has a big impact on veterans for whom medical marijuana could be an effective treatment on certain conditions. He says most veterans who benefit from medical marijuana must pay out of their own pocket to travel to states where it is legal or they use medications like opioids, which can be dangerous and addictive, as an alternative treatment.

Cunningham said veterans should have the freedom to use marijuana for medical treatment if their doctor says it’s the best option available. He called out what he described as the “hypocrisy” of politicians who claim to support veterans and not move the state forward out of the past and into the future.