Despite the introduction of several medical and recreational cannabis bills by South Carolina lawmakers, the state has yet to pass any substantial legislation. There is indication that the state could adopt more comprehensive medical cannabis legislation in the coming legislative session.
CBD from Hemp Oil in South Carolina
Hemp CBD oil is federally legal in the U.S. Individual state laws, however, are dynamic and some states have and will enact their own laws regulating hemp-derived CBD. South Carolina may govern hemp-derived CBD.
Medical Cannabis in South Carolina
South Carolina has implemented a very restrictive limited low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), high-cannabidiol (CBD) oil cannabis law. Under the current law, only patients suffering from Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, or other forms of severe intractable epilepsy, with a written certification from a licensed physician, are able to legally access the CBD oil. The CBD oil must be comprised of less than 0.9% THC and at least 15% CBD. The Medical University of South Carolina provides the cannabis oil.
While the limited CBD oil law is a positive first step toward the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes, it restricts cannabis from nearly all residents. On the first day of the legislative session in January 2017, Sen. Tom Davis and Rep. Peter McCoy did introduce a comprehensive cannabinoids bill that would allow those with debilitating medical conditions to access cannabis from a state regulated dispensary.
Recreational Cannabis in South Carolina
Recreational cannabis remains illegal in South Carolina. As policies currently stand, cannabis possession — regardless of amount — is a misdemeanor. Those convicted of possessing 1 ounce or less of cannabis are subject to a maximum fine of $200 and incarceration up to 30 days. If the amount of possession is greater than 1 ounce, penalties can be as great as 1 year in prison and a $2,000 fine.
Over the past two years, multiple decriminalization bills have been introduced, but each has been rejected by lawmakers and has not become law.
Cultivation of Cannabis in South Carolina
The cultivation of cannabis remains illegal in South Carolina. The growing of any amount, whether for personal or medicinal use, is a felony. Cultivating less than 100 plants is punishable by 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
South Carolina has passed a law that allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp by licensed growers. In 2014, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 839, which classifies cannabis composed of less than 0.3% THC as an industrial crop instead of a controlled substance. The law requires that cultivators be licensed, but the state has yet to provide any method for obtaining a license. Prospective hemp farmers cannot begin until these procedures are put into place.