About Us

Advisory Board

Rosie Craig


Rosemarie MacFarlane Craig is a Columbia, SC historic preservationist developer and a former nationally acclaimed high end furniture manufacturer. Rosemarie is the recipient of the Historic Columbia Foundation Leadership Award for being personally responsible for saving and reusing over 400,000 square feet of historic properties throughout the city.


As a founding member of the Congaree Vista Guild established in 1982 she has been in the lead in a historic neighborhood for over 30 years that has become a driving economic force in the southeast. It was during this time that she honed her talents working directly with city, county and state government and elected officials. As CEO of M Craig Cabinetmakers established in 1973 she has proven her business savvy with marketing skills and manufacturing throughout its long standing success. Rosemarie Craig continues to be sought after for her extensive connections and talents to develop new business opportunities including facilitating and consulting with other business entities.


Dr. Stephen Merlin


Stephen I Merlin MD is the sole owner of Substance Abuse Consultants, Inc. and the Medical Director of Starting Point of Florence, LLC and the Medical Director of Darlington, LLC. He has won many prestigious awards in his esteem career most notably the Teacher of the Year award presented by Residents, 2005-2006 and 2003-2004; Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, USC School of Medicine and the Hoff-Robinson Fellowship Award, Division of Substance Abuse Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Postgraduate, 1985.


Dr. Merlin has also been published in several peer reviewed medical journals. A word from DR. Merlin. As an Addiction Doctor I am certain that the current heroin and pain pill epidemic, with all it’s death and destruction, can be laid at the feet of traditional treatment of chronic pain with opioids. This is not merely my opinion, but rather the conclusion of every epidemiological study on the subject. The National Academies of Science, Engineering,Medicine reports that there is “Conclusive or Substantial evidence that Cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for chronic pain”. In 32 years, I have never seen a cannabis related death. It is simply wrong to deny the citizens of SC an alternative to traditional treatment of chronic pain. Further, to conflate medical and non-medical cannabis use is intellectually dishonest.”


Tom Hall


Tom Brice Hall is a practicing real estate attorney, hobby farmer, film maker and musician living in Columbia, South Carolina, married to Julie Hall, former deputy solicitor for Chester County, with their three boys.  Tom’s farm in Ridgeway, magnoliafarmlodge.com, has been converted into a thriving campus for a special needs school, thebarclayschool.org, as well as the kennels for his bird dogs that eat up the remaining spare time.


Dedicated to the betterment of the quality of life in Columbia, Tom created the annual charitable Mardi Gras festival in Columbia as well as the annual flood benefit, the big dam jam, which have combined to raise over $100,000 for charitable causes in Columbia. The next chapter is medical marijuana and the historical opportunity to change the image of his state.

Trent Hartley


Trent Hartley has been the marketing director to some of the most prominent architects in the world. He has spent his life working in the glass industry and had brought Coastal Class distributors/Aldora Aluminum and Glass out of bankruptcy when he was their Marketing Manager from 2001-2008. He would go on to be part owner and the General Manager from 2008-2016 of that company.  Currently he is an owner/investor in many projects most notably Palmetto Synergistic Research which produces essential oils made from the Cannabis Plant Sativa L that has been effective in improving many South Carolina residents’ quality of life.

Trenton Chambers


Trenton H. Chambers operates a law office focused on representing criminal offense cases in Myrtle Beach. They deliver results oriented representation with a goal to provide the best defense for people charged with DUI, felony DUI, driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, traffic tickets, speeding tickets, and other misdemeanor crimes and felonies. Mr. Chambers previously worked as a prosecutor with the Horry County Solicitor’s office, where he handled DUI, criminal domestic violence, and juvenile crime cases and as a prosecutor for the City of Myrtle Beach where he prosecuted in the municipal court offenses such as traffic tickets, speeding tickets, DUI, and Criminal Domestic violence charges.


Janel Ralph


Janel Ralph is the Owner & CEO of Palmetto Synergistic Research LLC, a South Carolina based company that produces Palmetto Harmony a high CBD hemp oil grown compliant with section 7606 of the federal farm bill. Janel entered into the cannabis industry as a parent advocate after her research led her to the discovery that CBD sourced from the Cannabis Sativa L plant would potentially be of benefit to her child, Harmony, who suffers from a rare genetic condition called, Lissencephaly.


After several failed attempts to obtain safe, tested, CBD-rich oil for her child, she decided she would become the source. Since Janel’s introducing this high CBD/low THC oil into her daughter’s life, Harmony has gained a quality of life that no synthetic drugs had ever provided her. After seeing her child’s own success, Janel made it her mission to help offer the same to all, and that is how Palmetto Synergistic Research & Palmetto Harmony were born. Her company today deals with thousands of people who have benefitted in some way from the cannabis plant and is wanting to donate her time to help advance this cause to allow access to South Carolina residents to the full plant under a comprehensive medical program.

Judy Ghanem


Judy Ghanem is currently acting as secretary of Compassionate South Carolina, with responsibility for marketing outreach efforts, communications programs and social media.  She also works as a volunteer with Hugs for Horses therapeutic riding program in Georgetown and is a consultant in the hotel industry; critiquing and evaluating sales team professionals as well as offering recommendation and training to increase sales capture rates. Judy’s greatest strengths are her creativity, drive and leadership. She thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand awareness of medical cannabis and its benefits.


Judy is a past catering sales manager at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta where she was involved in developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies to include; securing new accounts, maintaining existing accounts, and maximizing profitability while increasing customer satisfaction. Judy organized and helped execute corporate meetings, association groups, social functions as well as catering with notable success in large-scale event planning. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from East Stroudsburg University and an MBA from University of Phoenix. She lives in Murrells Inlet with her husband, their daughter, Kira, and have two older children no longer at home.


Cat Stevens


In the workplace, Cat serves as a Program Director at the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University where she has worked since 2005. She works primarily with a national afterschool policy fellowship, focused on improving policy in support of afterschool and summer learning across the country. Cat assists in developing the overall strategic direction for the Center for Education Policy and Leadership (CEPL) and assists with several of the Institute’s research projects. She regularly speaks with the Diversity Leadership Initiative on the topic of disability. She has a B.A. from Furman and an M.Ed from Clemson University.

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