(FOX 46 WJZY) — A Web M.D. study shows 69 percent of doctors in America believe marijuana can help certain treatments and conditions. Many states allow medical marijuana, but neither North nor South Carolina.
Perry Parks, 74, is a marijuana user. His backyard is a place of peace.
“This, as opposed to taking a handful of pills every day, makes a lot more sense to me,” he said.
Parks said it’s the perfect thing to help his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). FOX 46 Charlotte first interviewed the Vietnam War veteran last fall in 2016.
Now, he’s facing a charge of felony possession of marijuana after he was caught with it in his luggage while going through baggage check at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
“I know in my heart and in my prayers that my Lord and Savior does not consider me to be a criminal,” Parks said.
Medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states in the U.S. but the DEA still considers it a schedule 1 drug which according to that definition, means it has no medical value.
“Many, many veterans are using this illegally because they know that it works, now the word is out,” Parks said.
It’s not just veterans calling for medical marijuana.
Kids like Ali, Jackson and Izzy use marijuana for seizures or are calling on Carolina lawmakers to make it legal.
“I don’t see how I can be labeled a criminal in one state and not a criminal in another state,” Parks said.
Parks is no stranger to the fight. He’s reached out to U.S. presidents. Right now, he’s focusing in on fellow veterans.
“I was really perplexed when I realized how well it worked. Do I hide this from everybody or do I come out and take a chance and say, look, we made a mistake,” he said.
Parks is working as a face of the American Legion, a group supporting over two million military veterans. They’re urging congress to remove marijuana from schedule 1 drugs while calling for more research into its medical value.
“We have so many people needlessly suffering,” he said.
As for the felony possession charge, Parks is asking people to look deeper than his mugshot.
“I never do this as an in-your-face to law enforcement. I have great respect for law enforcement. It’s an absolute necessity but at the same time the potential benefits here outweigh the risk to me. If other people who suffer daily can learn that it really is a medicine and it really does work,” Parks said.
Now, South Carolina senators reviewed a comprehensive medical marijuana bill at a subcommittee meeting on Thursday.
North Carolina had a bill last year in the House that was killed.