To be perfectly honest, South Carolina isn’t what you would call a hemp-friendly state. Included in a cluster of east coast states with strict cannabis laws, the State of South Carolina has yet to make changes to the status of marijuana throughout its jurisdiction – maintaining that the herb is illegal for both medical and recreational use. Nonetheless, the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill into law paved the way for more freedom and a better understanding of just how hemp and marijuana are different.
As though seeing hemp with a brand new set of eyes, South Carolina legislators have submitted their very own hemp farming program to the US Department of Agriculture. This has made hemp farming legal within the state’s borders, opening up opportunities for growers, processors, and sellers who are keen on maximizing the potential of the hemp commodity.
The State of South Carolina defines legal hemp as any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant including its extracts and derivatives, with a THC content of no more than 0.3% per dry weight. The reason why THC or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is singled out as the most important factor is because it’s what gives marijuana its psychoactive aspect.
Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis plant, but differences in how they’re grown result to changes in their plant chemistry. In effect, hemp has just trace amount of THC compared to marijuana which contains higher values of the psychoactive compound. In effect, the two herbs are separated merely by chemistry, especially because they come from the same plant.
Keep in mind that in the state of South Carolina, medical and recreational marijuana are both illegal. So any hemp that exceeds the designated amount of THC will be considered marijuana, and should thus be destroyed and discarded.
In 2014, South Carolina approved the use of low-THC cannabis extracts – essential CBD extract – for individuals with certain medical conditions. However despite legalizing the product, the state didn’t develop a dispensary system, and neither were individuals allowed to grow cannabis in their backyards. Today however, with the dawn of the 2018 Farm Bill, it has become easier to access hemp in the Palmetto State.
These days, hemp and CBD products can be found in most retail outlets, pharmacies, salons, and even gas stations. But discriminating buyers in search of premium quality might be better served by CBD specialty shops. These stores cater specifically to individuals looking for high quality hemp-derived products, offering a range of choices that can help you find the ideal formulation for your needs.
Then of course, there’s the online hemp market. Teeming with the latest and greatest hemp products ever developed, there’s no better way to find the best product than by browsing online. Just make sure you read up about brands and their production processes, and don’t be afraid to ask for third party test results to find out how the products fair in terms of chemical profiles.
There’s a bit of confusion as to what buyers can and can’t buy in South Carolina, despite the market being rather dense with hemp and CBD products. According to the South Carolina law, only individuals with valid growing and processing permits are allowed to sell ‘raw hemp.’ That ultimately begs the question – since farmers are the only ones with a license, are retailers allowed to sell hemp flower?
Another question is the status of edible CBD infused products. Things like power bars, cookies, brownies, gummy candies, lollipops, and more, can be found throughout the CBD market, all incorporating the CBD compound. According to the FDA, the chemical compound CBD has yet to be identified as a viable food additive. So nationwide, edible CBD products should be illegal. But that’s not what we’re seeing throughout the market.
Despite these odd inconsistencies in present South Carolina law, we’re seeing a wealth of CBD and hemp products available for purchase – including raw flower and edibles. So while these might be stipulated in legislation, they’re not being enacted or safeguarded by law enforcement. So in effect, buyers and sellers still have the freedom to transact with these products.
There are unique dangers to smoking hemp in South Carolina, and that lies in the fact that marijuana remains to be illegal throughout the state – both for medical and recreational use. Currently, the State of South Carolina doesn’t have any field tests that they can use to detect THC levels on the spot. So while you might try to convince a law enforcement official that you’re using hemp – even with all the paperwork and printed third-party lab tests – there’s no way for them to verify whether it truly is hemp, or marijuana.
To be on the safe side, it’s recommended that individuals use and keep their hemp at home. For those who feel the need for a dose of CBD during those times when they’re away, then other forms of hemp, including hemp-derived products might be a better choice. Cigarettes, vape oils, and even edibles can give you a well-deserved CBD boost without having to confront law enforcement.
No. South Carolina is one of a handful of states with very specific and strict laws that safeguard against the use of marijuana. Remember that the only thing that sets marijuana and hemp apart is THC content. Certain cultivation processes can mean the difference between harvesting hemp or its illegal brother. And because it would be impossible for the state to monitor and test samples from personal gardens and farms, growing hemp remains illegal for home cultivation.
Anyone interested in growing hemp can do so by applying for a license from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. The process starts off by filling out the form through the DA’s website. A fee shall also be required to process the application and to issue the license should you be found eligible for the hemp farming program. Some other requirements include a background check and the details of the growing facility that you intend to use to farm hemp.
Despite being one of the states with the strictest laws surrounding the use of cannabis, the state of South Carolina has seen a lot of improvement throughout the years. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the once traditional state is now slowly moving towards to progress, accepting the benefit that hemp has not only for its economy, but for its members as well.
The development of a field test can greatly increase the freedom of individuals who use and enjoy raw flower. It would also be beneficial to clarify the law on the sale of unprocessed hemp flower and edibles so that retailers can have a better perspective of their market’s landscape. With time, we expect that South Carolina will provide more freedom to their locals, but for the meantime, the pleasant hemp industr atmosphere can be reason enough to celebrate.
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