Father, disabled military veteran among supporters of S.C. medical marijuana legalization

Mark Montrose (WCIV).JPG

In 29 states, medical marijuana is allowed. On Wednesday, the South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee amended and approved a medical marijuana bill that would make it legal here, as well.

The bill is now headed to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee for consideration, after which it still would need to pass in the Senate, the House and get the governor's signature before becoming law.

ABC News 4 spoke to families who are hoping legislation will eventually pass.

Mark Montrose is advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana on behalf of his 10-year-old daughter.

“This isn’t something I would’ve imagined myself doing five to ten years ago," Montrose said. "I’m retired military. I was a 'Just Say No' kid, had the t-shirt.”

Until their daughter Mary-Kate was born.

“She’s got hydrocephalus, and then along the way that’s when the Cerebral Palsy became more noticed," Montrose said. "We didn’t find out about the Epilepsy until she was five.”

These illnesses prevent Mary-Kate from living like a normal 10-year-old, Montrose said.

“Brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, getting herself dressed: those are things she has to have someone help her with,” said Montrose.

Despite her conditions, Mary-Kate is a trooper.

“She’s had both her legs broken and rotated, so she lives in quite a bit of pain, but she’s tough,” says Montrose.

Mark says Mary-Kate has made many improvements using medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil (CBD).

“She went from having sometimes like 12 seizures a night to like one or two a month," says Montrose, who claims CBD has allowed them to eliminate two medicines in the last year.

Navy veteran and registered VA hospital nurse Donald Howell is advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana uses with the group Compassionate SC.

Howell is blind in his right eye, and suffers from PTSD after a truck bomb detonated inside a building he was in while serving overseas.

“Out of my medical department, which we only had 17 people, I’m the only survivor,” Howell says.

Howell says he supports the use of medical marijuana to treat former military personnel suffering from PTSD.

However, not all state lawmakers support the moves to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Sen. Kevin Johnson (D-Clarendon County)says he opposes the bill,

“(T)he bill that we are debating has strong opposition from the law enforcement and medical communities," said Johnson. " The bill is more of a bill for those who want marijuana for recreational use as opposed to for medicinal purposes. Amendments to the original bill make some improvements, but I still oppose the bill.”

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