By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Several conservative lawmakers in South Carolina have thrown their support behind medical marijuana legislation.
Rep. Eric Bedingfield once shunned all marijuana use, but when his eldest son's six-year struggle with opioid addiction ended with his overdose a year ago, the Republican co-sponsored medical cannabis legislation. He says he now believes pot has benefits, especially as an alternative to being prescribed opioids.
Efforts to let patients legally access pot are slowly taking root in the South.
While 28 states allow comprehensive medical marijuana programs, only two of those are in the South - Arkansas and Florida - and neither is in place yet. A law signed in Louisiana last year, also not yet in effect, doesn't allow the smoking or vaping of marijuana.