We realize that legalized pot is still a long way off, maybe even longer than in this week’s cover story, where we take a retrospective look from the year 2040 at what post-apotcalyptic South Carolina looks like. (If you haven’t already, stop now and read it.) But with states like Washington and Colorado actually having substantive policy debates about decriminalizing weed, we can’t help but think it’s a useful conversation to have in the Palmetto State.

So, whether you’re a legalize-it-libertarian or a midnight toker, take 30 seconds (or longer if you get distracted) and sign the City Paper Potition. Our policy pitch is three-fold:

1. Industrial hemp, which comes from a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant, could become South Carolina’s next cash crop. As some of the only domestic suppliers in the United States, South Carolina farmers could sell hemp for use in textiles, food, and building materials.

2. Medical marijuana, prescribed by doctors, can be effective at managing pain and nausea in certain patients, including cancer patients. By denying the ill the option of marijuana, we are allowing residents of our state to suffer needlessly and forcing them (and their insurance companies) to spend money on far more costly pharmaceuticals.

3. Recreational marijuana, properly regulated and taxed, could generate revenues for the state on par with those from the sale of alcohol and tobacco. In these tight budget years, it seems irresponsible not to consider a readily available revenue stream. Also, in a state that prides itself on its conservatism, it is the height of hypocrisy to tell citizens what they can and cannot put in their own bodies.

Click here to sign the City Paper Potition

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