Is weed legal in South Carolina?
No. South Carolina does not have legal cannabis for adult use or medical purposes.
Qualifying medical patients can purchase and consume medicinal CBD oil that contains less than 0.9% THC and more than 15% CBD. This is slightly higher than the federal standard for CBD products, which must have no more than 0.3% THC.
Cannabis in South Carolina
Like many states in America, South Carolina has a complicated relationship with cannabis. Back when the US was still a collection of colonies under British rule, South Carolina had a booming industrial hemp industry. Hemp fibers can be made into salt-resistant rope, making it an important crop for the Royal Navy. In 2017, the state made it legal once again to grow hemp in an effort to support the agriculture industry, which is the largest industry in the state.
But since THC is still illegal in the state, the legacy market and the stigma around it pervades. There have been several attempts to legalize medical cannabis in South Carolina, which have been struck down for reasons seemingly more political than logical.
A 2020 report found that South Carolina had the second-most cannabis arrests in the nation, only following South Dakota. Many of these arrests are racially divided. Depending on location, Black residents were between 4.2 – 8.4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white residents. The report further broke down arrests at a county level and found that four out of the five counties named with the highest rates of arrests for cannabis possession in the country were in South Carolina.
THC is not legal in any form in South Carolina, which still has harsh anti-cannabis laws. Possession of an ounce or less of cannabis flower, hash, or concentrates is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and $200 for a first offense and one year in jail and/or $2,000 for subsequent offenses.
Selling and growing any quantities of the plant are felonies and entail steep fines and long jail sentences. Even carrying paraphernalia like bongs is frowned upon, punishable by a civil citation that carries a $500 fine.
South Carolina medical marijuana program
The state does not have a medical program. The most recent medical marijuana bill, introduced in 2021, would have created a program, albeit a restrictive one. It expanded qualifying conditions and allowed patients to access select THC products through state-licensed dispensaries. The bill did not include smokable cannabis or home cultivation and kept cannabis possession a misdemeanor. It failed in the state House.
In 2014, prior to federal CBD legalization, the governor signed Julian’s Law which created access to low-THC/ high-CBD oil for qualified patients. However, there are only three approved conditions for this oil, and patients must have tried and failed with other traditional treatments before they can be approved. The conditions are:
- Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
- Dravet Syndrome
- Other severe forms of epilepsy
Since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is federally legal across all 50 states. You can purchase CBD products at a number of CBD stores across the state.
Can you grow your own weed?
No, you cannot grow your own cannabis plants in South Carolina. Growers licensed through the state can cultivate industrial hemp plants, but there is no home growing.
Visiting South Carolina – can you buy or bring marijuana products?
You cannot legally buy cannabis products in South Carolina. The legacy market (also called the black market) still exists, and you can purchase cannabis the same way people have been buying weed throughout prohibition. However, these products are unregulated and untested and should be approached with caution. Buy cannabis at your own risk.
You cannot legally cross borders with any THC products in the United States, including in South Carolina. Possession is still a misdemeanor, so carry cannabis at your own risk.
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