Using marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in South Carolina for almost 17 years, but don't plan on lighting up anytime soon.
"Slim to none," is how state Rep. Donnie Wilder, chairman of the House medical affairs subcommittee, sums up the chances of funding so state health officials can buy the first batch of marijuana for distribution.
"There's just not been any hue and cry for it," he said.
The law has been on the books since 1980 but without the funding. It was proposed by state Sen. Thomas E. Smith Jr. of Florence, who hoped it would help a constituent suffering from glaucoma and living in pain.
There were no other sponsors.
"I put it in. It just passed with little notice," Smith said.
Without funding, the medical marijuana program soon was forgotten. Wilder doubts there is any chance of it being funded based on the state's conservative attitudes and reluctance to launch new programs.
In fact, he and several government officials didn't even know the law was on the books until asked, the (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Feb. 10.
Among marijuana's reported benefits are reducing nausea for chemotherapy patients, improving the appetite of AIDS victims, reducing pain and muscle spasms associated with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and reducing pressure on the eyeballs for glaucoma sufferers.
At least 25 other states have passed laws or resolutions endorsing marijuana research; most also do not have funding.