WILLISTON — Aiken NORML celebrated marijuana’s high holiday Friday with its inaugural 4/20 Festival, which was held at Seeds Cafe, Farm and Market.

There were games like Ganj-O! and Pothole, but the event wasn’t all about having fun.

“The main purpose is to provide education about and create awareness of what medical cannabis can do for individuals,” said Aiken NORML President Landon Yarosh.

Medical marijuana isn’t legal in South Carolina, but the state legislature recently has been considering allowing its use.

“By not having medical cannabis, you are limiting someone’s ability to truly live the highest quality of life that they really deserve,” Yarosh said. “There are a lot of people who already have died who could have benefited from the use of medical cannabis, and there are individuals who could really use it now.”

For Joey Bramlett, who lives in the Warrenville area, marijuana helps him deal with the problems caused by neuropathy after chemotherapy.

“I am a two-time cancer survivor, and I’ve been disabled by it,” he said. “I tried opioids, but they almost killed me and made me feel like zombie. With cannabis, I’m not in pain, and I can have a function and have a life again. But I have to break the law to get relief.”

Sean Carrigan, who is a Democrat and a candidate for South Carolina’s District 2 Congressional seat that is held by Republican Joe Wilson, attended the 4/20 Festival.

“Landon invited me to come out here and share a little bit about my platform,” said Carrigan early during the 4/20 Festival, which started at 4:20 p.m. “I’m supportive of medical marijuana, and I’ve always been. It has been proven to have so much therapeutic value and to be effective over and over again for so many different conditions.”

Annabelle Robertson, another District 2 Congressional candidate who also is a Democrat, arrived later.

The 4/20 Festival was a drug-free event, and signs warned there would be “zero tolerance.”

Aiken NORML is a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

For more information, visit Aiken NORML’s page on Facebook.

​Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.