Retired State Trooper becomes leading advocate in South Carolina’s fight for medical marijuana


Currently, anyone caught with up to an ounce of bud in South Carolina faces a steep fine and up to 30 days in jail. Anyone caught with over an ounce of weed falls into the same category as those caught with up to ten pounds of weed! Potentially five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, for some weed.
Loyally enforcing those laws for 17 years was South Carolina State Trooper Chris Raffield. In 2008, Raffield was forced into an early retirement by a sudden debilitating illness.

A true tank of a man during his law enforcement career, Raffield was still a muscular, 330-pound crew-cut behemoth at the time of his retirement. In the six years since, he has been battered by a storm of sickness, including Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal tumors, and black-out seizures.
As doctor’s bounced from diagnosis to diagnosis, they watched helplessly as Raffield’s body devoured itself, leaving him a 140-pound shell of his former self, relying on a cane just to walk.
Finding no relief in the slew of prescription pills he was given to ease his pain and suffering from an obvious loss of appetite, Raffield was turned on to a trial sample of Marinol – a THC-based, lab-created prescription appetite stimulant.
He did find some relief in the product, but could not get Medicaid to pay for the $800 prescription since he was not an AIDS or cancer patient.
Unable to afford the skyhigh price tag of the Marinol, a friend “suggested” some actual, real-deal weed to try to ease his pain. Feeling desperate, Raffield sparked it up.
He soon discovered the usefulness of cannabis-infused edibles, which allowed him to properly dose his THC and CBD intake while self-medicating.
Speaking of her husband’s sudden onslaught of illnesses, Raffield’s wife Jenny fought back tears while telling The Post and Courier, “I was watching him die. You don’t know what that’s like to watch someone you love die and just know there’s nothing you can do to help him.”
Since deciding to medicate with marijuana, Jenny Raffield has seen a vast improvement in her husband’s attitude, and health, saying, “I’ve seen him be able to actually enjoy life again somewhat. This has given his life back.”
Still, Raffield and his wife realize that every bowl he blazes or brownie he bakes is still highly illegal in his home state of South Carolina. He hopes to change that, and help add South Carolina to the list of states that have already passed their own version of medical marijuana legalization.
So these days he battles non-stop pain, and the myriad of disabilities associated with it, limping through the halls of the South Carolina Statehouse on his cane, trying to catch the attention of influential lawmakers through a sea of lobbyists and staff members.
Though Gov. Nikki Haley did begrudgingly sign an extremely limited CBD-only law recently passed by the state legislature, local cannabis advocates – like Chris Raffield – speak the truth when they say that the law falls far short of any sort of true “medical marijuana” reform.
South Carolina House Democratic Minority Leader Todd Rutherford tried to get real, workable, medical marijuana legislation introduced in May of 2013, but could not even muster enough support from his right-wing colleagues to get a hearing on the matter.
A Winthrop University poll conducted in April of this year showed that 72 percent of South Carolina residents would support new laws allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
Times have changed, even in just the past year, and Chris Raffield is confident that with voices like his rallying behind the cause, and overwhelming public support for medical marijuana in the state, it is only a matter of time before the more conservative members of the state legislature begin to take the issue seriously.