On this episode of the Speaking of … College of Charleston podcast, award-winning Washington Post journalist Kathleen Parker speaks with South Carolina Senator Tom Davis, attorney Margaret Ann “Muffy” Kneece and Gary Hess, founder and executive director of the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives, about cannabis legislation in South Carolina.

Featured on this Episode: Kathleen Parker writes a weekly column on politics and culture. In 2010, she received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary “for her perceptive, often witty columns on an array of political and moral issues. gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions.” A Florida native, Parker started her column in 1987 when she was a staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel. She joined the Washington Post Writers Group in 2006. She is the author of Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care (2008).

“Parker writes with grace, wit and style and is always prescient, prophetic, ahead of the curve.” – Doug Marlette, Political cartoonist and author (1949-2007)

Honors and Awards:

  • Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award
  • South Carolina Academy of Authors
  • 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
  • 1993 H.L. Mencken Writing Award

Parker divides her time between Washington, D.C., and South Carolina – and points beyond. When she isn‘t immersed in writing, she enjoys interior design, an array of fur and winged friends and long pauses with nature.

Senator Tom Davis has lived in Beaufort, South Carolina, since 1985, practicing law at the firm of Harvey & Battey, P.A. He is the managing partner in the firm’s real estate department. Davis obtained a bachelor of arts from Furman University in 1982 and a juris doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1985. He served in Gov. Mark Sanford’s administration as senior policy advisor, co-chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and chief of staff from 2003 to 2007. In November 2008, he was elected State Senator for South Carolina Senate District 46 and was re-elected to second and third four-year terms in 2012 and 2016.

Gary Hess is the founder and executive director of the Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives, CEO of Teleleaf and partner of Dynamic Growth Solutions – organizations he founded to help destigmatize and provide access to medical cannabis. Hess served in the Marine Corps for 11 years, both enlisted and as an infantry officer. After serving during the heaviest levels of fighting in Iraq, Hess experienced the challenges of living with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain and pharmaceutical dependency first-hand. He used cannabis not only to manage his conditions safely on his path to recovery, but also to catalyze and expedite post-traumatic growth. He is now an advocate and activist for the use of medical cannabis in post-traumatic recovery – both for veterans and trauma survivors.

In 1992 Margaret Ann “Muffy” Kneece received a bachelor of arts from the University of South Carolina with a major in history. She received her juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995. After law school, Kneece was employed with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office (S.C.). Kneece initially worked in the Family Court Division and was the chief prosecuting attorney for the Fifteenth Circuit Family Court when she returned to her true passion as a general sessions assistant solicitor for Georgetown County, South Carolina.  It was there she tried an array of cases from murder, homicide by child abuse, criminal sexual assault, armed robbery, burglaries and financial crimes. Kneece currently has a contract with the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense which involves cases of varying crimes, including most serious and violent crimes, and she represents juveniles in Family Court as well.

Resources from this Episode:

Senator Tom Davis

Gary Hess

Margaret Ann Kneece