Ever wonder if weed is legal in South Carolina? Here’s everything you need to know about South Carolina’s marijuana laws and other places to find cannabis around South Carolina in 2020.
Is weed legal in South Carolina?
In short, no. Cannabis is not legal in South Carolina.
Marijuana in South Carolina is a Schedule 1 controlled substance on the same list as heroin and cocaine. This means that you will incur severe penalties will incur if you are caught possessing, selling, or cultivating cannabis in South Carolina. Here are a few of the laws and penalties surrounding marijuana in South Carolina:
- 1 oz or less (first offense): Misdemeanor – 30 days in jail – $200 fine
- 1 oz or less (subsequent offense): Misdemeanor – 1 year in jail – $2,000 fine
- Possession of 10g of concentrates or less: Misdemeanor – 30 days in jail – $200 fine
- Possession of more than 10g of concentrates: Misdemeanor – 5 years in jail – $5,000 fine
- Less than 10 lbs: Felony – 5 years in jail – $5,000 fine
- 10 – 100 lbs (first offense): Felony – 1 year in jail minimum, up to 10 years – $10,000 fine
- 10 – 100 lbs (second offense): Felony – 5 years in jail minimum, up to 20 years – $25,000 fine
- 10 – 100 lbs (third offense): Felony – 25 years minimum – $25,000 fine
- Less than 100 plants: Felony – 5 years in jail – $5,000 fine
- 100 – 1000 plants: Felony- 25 years mandatory minimum in jail – $25,000 fine
- Selling to a minor or within a 1/2 mile of a school, playground, or public park: Felony – 10 years in jail – $10,000 fine
- Possession of paraphernalia: Civil Citation – No jail time – $500 fine
- Subsequent offenses carry greater penalties.
While there are many penalties associated with marijuana in South Carolina, there are a few bright sides. For example, South Carolina has a conditional release law in place that allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. In short, you can usually get off with probation rather than trial, leaving you with a clean slate after your first offense.
However, the trade-off includes mandatory minimum sentences put in place by the state of South Carolina. With mandatory minimum sentences, the judge legally cannot sentence you to less time than the state requires based on the amounts you possess, sell, or cultivate.
Medical Marijuana in South Carolina
Technically, South Carolina currently has not legalized medical and recreational marijuana. What it allows for medical use is not the marijuana plant, but only cannabidiol extracted from hemp. South Carolina only allows for the use of hemp and products with more than 15% CBD and does not allow for the possession or use of any products that contain more than 0.9% THC. Like several other states, South Carolina’s medical marijuana program is limited to compassionate care only. To qualify for medical marijuana in South Carolina, you must meet one of the following qualifying conditions:
- Dravet Syndrome
- Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
- Refractory Epilepsy
Even with one of these qualifying conditions, you can’t get medical marijuana without a doctor’s recommendation. Patients must apply to the health department (DHEC) for a registration card that will allow access to the state’s licensed dispensaries and provide legal protections. Medical marijuana cards must also be renewed annually.
To get a marijuana card, you must already have an established relationship with your doctor. You can’t just go to any doctor and get a medical marijuana recommendation like you can in many other states with medical programs. If you are expected to die or recover from your condition within a year, your doctor also legally has to make a note with the state so that your medical card expires earlier.
As a patient, you are also limited to concentrated CBD products. You can’t possess more than two ounces every two weeks. Also, getting caught with dried flowers will incur a $150 fine. Violating these laws can result in getting your card suspended or revoked and you may be persecuted for criminal penalties depending on the charge.
Overall, South Carolina’s medical marijuana program is extremely limited. While they do have an active hemp industry and conduct research on marijuana plants with less than 1% THC, they typically use hemp for textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, and animal feed before using it for medicine. You must have a debilitating medical condition to use CBD products in South Carolina, and the cannabis flower that contains THC is totally out of the question.
Cannabis-Related News and Development in South Carolina
Marijuana has not been decriminalized in South Carolina. However, state officials are making a move toward decriminalization through H 3276 and H 4313. H 4313 is summarized as Controlled Substance Offenses and Penalties. It seeks to amend Sections 44-52-370 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976. The bill proposes the decriminalization of the possession of 28 grams or one ounce or less of marijuana, or 10 grams or less of hashish. It also calls for the issuance of a civil citation instead of criminal penalties for such possession.
Moreover, while South Carolina technically does not have a medical marijuana program. One god development about the state is that it currently has bills that propose the creation of a comprehensive medical cannabis initiative. The bills, named H 3660, S 366, H 3081 and H 3272. One bill, S 366 summarized as the SC Compassionate Care Act, passed a Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee. It is now on the table of the full committee. The bill was scheduled for deliberation mid-March. However, the meeting was postponed because of the pandemic.
These developments in South Carolina take the state closer to legalization not only of medical cannabis but hopefully of recreational adult-use. Those who want to know more about the latest cannabis events, legislation, and other information may visit the 420DC website.