Don't expect South Carolina to follow in Colorado's footsteps anytime soon as far as legalizing recreational marijuana.

But that said, the state isn't exempt from the larger national trend toward a more permissive outlook on the drug.

So says Wayne Borders, acting executive director and president of Columbia NORML, an advocacy group seeking to legalize marijuana.

Borders says the Legislature may debate bills to consider allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, to legalize industrial hemp cultivation or to review sentences for possessing the drug. The Legislature has considered such bills before - the late Sen. Bill Mescher, R-Pinopolis, pushed for medical use after his first wife died from lung cancer.

"We expect a lot of pushback, not so much from the general public or the religious community but from police agencies," Borders says.

In addition to working on the state level, Borders says NORML may push a ballot initiative in Columbia or Richland County to legalize medical marijuana there.

"We're going to shoot for medicinal first because there is that compassionate aspect to it," he says. "A lot of people recognize that it does have medicinal qualities."

Borders notes almost half the states have approved some sort of marijuana legalization, and those efforts are continuing. "The corner has already been turned," he says.

Abortion politics

Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham last year introduced a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But heading toward the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, state Sen. Lee Bright - one of Graham's rivals in the June GOP primary - is being endorsed by one of the various anti-abortion advocacies in the state.

Voice of the Unborn is planning a rally Jan. 21 at the Statehouse. Group director Johnny Gardner said Bright, R-Spartanburg, is their choice because of his support of the "Personhood Act of South Carolina," which affirms constitutional rights begin at conception.

"We endorse pro-life Sen. Lee Bright for the U.S. Senate to replace liberal Lindsey Graham," Gardner's announcement said.

Graham faces three other opponents: Upstate attorney and businessman Richard Cash; Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor; and Nancy Mace, the first female graduate of The Citadel Corps of Cadets.

S.C. election forecast

The national election news site Politico just named its 10 U.S. House races, 10 Senate races and 10 gubernatorial races to watch in 2014, and no South Carolina office made any of the rankings.

The list mostly focused on which races are expected to be the most competitive in the general election.

The news may not be what Democrats want to hear, especially in the governor's race.

Darby targets Haley

Charleston civil rights activist the Rev. Joe Darby took time during his Emancipation Proclamation sermon this week to take a few shots at the state's leading Republicans as he discussed inequalities in the black community.

One example was shortcomings in the state's health care system, as he pointed the finger at Gov. Nikki Haley.

"Our governor encouraged people as she lit the state Christmas tree to do a random act of kindness and turns around and makes it hard for those in need to get health care and plays with guns like she's Annie Oakley," he said, referencing the female sharpshooter who worked with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in the 1800s.

Haley got widespread attention a week ago for putting a picture of her handgun Christmas present on social media. She also has faced some criticism after declining to accept money from Washington to expand Medicaid benefits under Obamacare.

Darby urged church-goers to rise up and start voting for leaders who have their interest at heart.

"We can tell somebody that Barack Obama may be in the White House, Nikki Haley might be in the Governor's Mansion, and Glenn McConnell might be lieutenant governor, and Tim Scott might keep a seat warm in the Senate, but that ain't power; there is power in the name of Jesus . to fight every chain."

The comments came during a sermon Wednesday marking the 151st annual celebration of Emancipation Day. Darby is also first vice president of the Charleston NAACP.

Lincolnville redo

The tiny town of Lincolnville will have a new election for mayor Feb. 25 after Charleston County election officials upheld a protest of the November election.

The difference was just three votes when runner-up candidate Tyrone Aiken challenged the apparent victory by Charles Duberry on grounds that three ballots were cast by people who were not eligible. The race was an 88 to 85 tally.

"Basically it's just a do-over," said Joseph Debney, executive director of the county Board of Elections and Voter Registration. "But it will be just those two candidates."

Lincolnville is a tiny town of about 1,200 people sandwiched between North Charleston and Summerville.

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