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The need for weed?

Despite efforts by the South Carolina Department of Corrections to keep contraband, including marijuana, out of its prisons, a weed compound may one day be welcomed to waltz in through the front gate.

As the department has installed golf-course-style netting around the perimeters of many of its facilities and began using drones to combat the flow of prohibited items, the S.C. House budget-writing committee has directed SCDC to consider whether a study on the effects of cannabidiol oil on inmates would be useful.

Cannabidiol, a natural oil but a controlled substance, is used to treat ailments such as multiple sclerosis, anxiety and epilepsy.

State Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, filed the budget amendment, according to The State newspaper, and believes the program will allow lawmakers to figure out whether using cannabidiol will be cheaper than the drugs currently used to treat inmates.

The State reported that SCDC would be in charge of writing the program’s guidelines, but that it neither requested the proposal nor favors it.

Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not intoxicating. This Sidebar reporter is no scientist, and it is unclear why SCDC officials would oppose the use of cannabidiol, especially if it makes financial sense for the cash-strapped agency.

But when one considers the ingenuity of men who have nothing but time and, for some, a desire so strong to get drunk that they’ll swill boot polish or bags of rotted fruit, maybe there’s a concern that somehow, some way, someone will figure out how to make a joint out of a dietary supplement.

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