Is Marijuana Legal in South Carolina?

If you are in the mood for some vaping or smoking, your options are varied from going to the nearest weed store to using your handmade joints. However, you may want to take it slowly and learn whether any of those are legal in your homeplace. In South Carolina, the answer is no, and the punishments can be very unpleasant.

Marijuana is illegal in South Carolina. The penalties for weed possession in this state can be harsh, and the prohibition applies both for personal and medical usage. While many states in the country legalized the possession, use, and cultivation of weed, it is totally forbidden in South Carolina.

This article will cover everything you need to know about the legal aspects of marijuana in South Carolina. It is also imperative that you know about the laws, penalties, and limitations for different activities related to cannabis. So, let’s get into the article.

Weed Legality in the USA

The possession, usage, and selling of weed is strictly prohibited in the USA under federal laws. The rule is not limited to personal use but applies to all forms of medical usage. Despite this fact, many states in the country have legalized weeds partially or totally.

38 states in the USA legalized the medical use of cannabis if it is in a prescription. Many small territories and districts also did the same. Meanwhile, there is a THC limitation on weed usage in ten states. But why can many states go away with legalizing marijuana, you may wonder.

It is so because there is a Rohrabacher–Farr amendment that defends individuals from federal persecution because of weed usage with the medical recommendation if the state allows it.

Next, 24 states allow any recreational use of these plants. Finally, seven states have entirely legalized weed usage. Only except for Virginia and DC, all other states that legalized weed usage also allow its buying and selling.

Note that the federal law allows CBD and Delta-8 THC when it is for non-prescription usage. But many states may prohibit these, too.

The History of Marijuana Laws in South Carolina

Marijuana usage has always been a prohibited act in South Carolina. And even now, while most states in the USA are allowing partial or total weed usage, SC is still unchanged about their laws. However, there were slight changes to the limitations of medical usage in the past. For example-

  • The state allows the usage of CBD products under prescription if the THC of the content is less than 0.9%. But that, too, is only eligible for patients with specific conditions.
  • The Senate of South Carolina has advanced several bills for medical marijuana legalization. However, the act is still not approved in the state.
  • One such legislation was the Compassionate Care Act in 2019 by the lawmakers. However, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the hearing failed to take place.
  • Meanwhile, the state has been allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp THC-A since the 18th century.

Understanding the Current Laws

The legality and decriminalization of marijuana in South Carolina are still far from a reality. The state has put very harsh punishments for any usage of weed.

Law and Punishments

Let’s check the laws for different activities related to marijuana in SC, along with their penalties-

Selling or Commercial Transporting

The bottom table explains the punishments for the commercial trading, selling, and transporting of cannabis in South Carolina. The fine and jail time depend on the amount one is dealing with and whether it is their first time doing the offense or not. Note that all of them are felonies.

Cannabis AmountTimes Offense CommittedJail PeriodMaximum Fine
Less than 10 lbs. 5 years$5,000
10 – 100 lbsFirst timeAt least 1 year to 10 years$10,000
Second timeAt least 5 years to 20 years$25,000
Third timeAt least 25 years$25,000
100 – 2000 lbs At least 25 years$25,000
2,000 – 10,000 lbs At least 25 years$50,000
Over 10,000 lbs At least 25 years$200,000
Doing the activities within ½ mile of a playground, public park, or school or selling to a minor 10 years$10,000

Possession

If you possess cannabis less than 1 oz in South Carolina, it is a misdemeanor, which may result in a jail period of 30 days. The punishments are as follows-

  • Possessing 1 oz or less cannabis will bring a penalty of a maximum of 30 days of incarceration and a $200 maximum fine.
  • If someone commits the same crime for the second time, it may result in a maximum of 1 year jail time and a $2,000 maximum fine.
  • Possession of concentrates of 10 grams or less (hash oil, hashish, etc.) is also a misdemeanor with a 30-day maximum incarceration and not more than $200 in fine.
  • If the concentrates is over 10 grams, the jail period may extend to 5 years with a maximum of $5,000 in fine.
  • While the rules regarding the possession of paraphernalia are less strict, and people can use them for tobacco smoking, it may still lead to a fine of $500 if used illegally.

Cultivation

Along with selling and trafficking, cultivation of cannabis is also a felony in South Carolina. The offense may lead to 5 years of incarceration or a maximum fine of $5,000 if the number of plants is below 100. Check out all the related penalties below-

  • If the number of plants is less than 100, the maximum punishment will be 5 years in jail and $5,000 in fines.
  • The minimum jail period for 100 to 1000 plants is 25 years, with a maximum of $25,000 in fines.
  • For 1000 to 10,000 plants, the jail time is 25 years at least and a $50,000 fine.
  • If someone cultivates over 10,000 cannabis plants, the least jail time is 25 years, with a maximum fine of $200,000.

Additional Information to Know

  • South Carolina approves low-THC or high-CBD oil. But only if the manufacturers and cultivators have the proper licenses and permits.
  • The state also allows the selling, possession, and usage of delta-8 THC, where the hemp is removed. You can even buy them online. However, one should still be very careful while getting them from a vendor to have pure content and avoid any unwanted issues.
  • The number of weed-related arrests in South Carolina was 34,229 in 2018. That was the second highest in the USA.

Medical Marijuana in South Carolina

So far, medical marijuana usage is still just as illegal as public or recreational use. There have been many instances where the people tried to legalize it. Several bills have been raised, but nothing changed so far.

However, CBD oil usage for medical treatment under particular circumstances and for specific conditions is allowed here.

While the voter’s support for recreational legalization is only 23% in South Carolina, it is 72% for medical marijuana. Maybe we will see a change in the law in the coming future.

Initiatives for Legalization

We should mention that there have been several initiatives for the legalization of weed in the SC. Some examples will be-

  • The H 4037 and S 672 bills for medical marijuana have seen no light of hope in 2015.
  • The Compassionate Care Act of 2019 by lawmakers would allow medical institutes to use certain cannabis for a broader range of conditions than now. But the Covid-19 in 2020 stopped the hearing.
  • In the same year, the House has seen two more bills, H 3081 and H 3272, focusing on medical marijuana usage. But again, the committee review has put no answer to it.
  • At present, there is a pending legislation in the House in favor of possession of a small amount of marijuana. If it is passed, the offense will be reduced from a misdemeanor to a civil offense, and the penalty will also decrease to only $100 to $200 for a first-time offense.

Conclusion

It is better to care for the laws and not take any risks by possessing, selling, or cultivating marijuana while the state restricts or forbids it. If you want to do it without much issue, you can opt for delta-8 THC. You can also hope for the current pending legislation to be passed.

But right now, all kinds of possession, usage, and selling of cannabis are illegal in South Carolina.

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Nazmul Nahid

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