CBD, for all its popularity, can be a complicated matter. This compound has caused quite a stir. It burst onto the scene a few years ago, with consumers eager to give it a try; now, by the end of this year the market for it may reach $9.3 billion.
Despite all this, it remains controversial. As a cannabinoid, CBD is harvested from cannabis plants. Rather than marijuana, manufacturers tend to obtain it from hemp. However, years of vilification and criminalization have made the distinction between the two plants less than clear.
Federal and state laws are at a disconnect when it comes to marijuana and CBD. The situation is also changing all the time, leaving CBD users in a perplexing situation.
South Carolina residents may wish to know where they stand with CBD, especially given that there are numerous CBD stores throughout the state.
In this guide, we break down the current situation with CBD oil in South Carolina.
Marijuana Laws in South Carolina
First off, it’s handy to have some knowledge about marijuana law in the Palmetto State. Knowing where the government stands on cannabis in general often gives an indication of the CBD market.
Unsurprisingly, South Carolina is staunchly against cannabis. Code 44-53-110 effectively bans cannabis and any derivations from it, such as cannabinoids. Therefore, cannabis oils and similar products are prohibited in the state. Possession and use of such items can warrant both fines and imprisonment.
Some would claim that “Julian’s Law” (which we will talk about later) is a medical marijuana law, but it’s a little more complicated than that. This law does not permit the use of ‘medical marijuana’ in its raw and natural form, instead allowing some low-THC oils.
In 2019, lawmakers briefly considered passing the Compassionate Care Act, which would have allowed qualifying patients to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana. However, it did not pass and has been pushed back.
As it stands, cannabis in both medical and recreational forms remain illegal in the state of South Carolina.
Folks Want to Know: Can You Buy CBD Oil in South Carolina?
The situation with CBD remains, unfortunately, complicated. Most citizens don’t quite know where they stand. On one hand, there is a myriad of CBD stores across the state, implying legality. On the other, South Carolina’s government has not explicitly said that CBD is allowed, and existing laws are a little conflicting.
Here’s the situation: In 2014, Republican Governor Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 1035 into law. It’s also known as Julian’s Law. It passed following a unanimous vote in the Senate and a 92-5 House vote.
Julian’s Law allows children with severe, untreatable epilepsy to be treated with CBD oil so long as a licensed physician recommends it. Currently, only one CBD-based drug is approved by the FDA: Epidiolex. This drug can be used to treat epilepsy patients under particular circumstances, and this is likely what physicians in South Carolina would prescribe.
The existence of Julian’s Law implies that one may only use CBD oil if a physician has prescribed it. However, this fact is complicated by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Every four years, the federal government updates its agriculture and farming laws in the Farm Bill. The most recent one came about in 2018, during which the Hemp Farming Act was established. The federal government defined hemp as any cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Effectively, this decriminalized hemp and its non-intoxicating by-products – such as CBD.
With this being the case on a federal level, people are reasonably confused about South Carolina’s CBD situation. There’s no denying that many CBD shops are operating in the state, including Palmetto Harmony. So far, legal repercussions for retailers and CBD users are nowhere to be seen. With no outspoken laws against CBD since the revelation of the Farm Bill, most people assume that CBD is allowed.
Industrial Hemp in South Carolina
All this being said, the hemp situation is quite complex. According to the official South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) site, this state follows the federal government in its definition of hemp. As a result, cannabis plants containing less than 0.3% THC are permitted.
The SCDA takes annual applications from farmers who wish to grow hemp. You must undergo a criminal background check and submit an application fee to be considered. You must also be a resident of South Carolina.
There are no limits on the number of acres you can grow. However, the SCDA must approve the size of the hemp farm before you sow the seeds.
This would imply that hemp farming is permitted in South Carolina. However, at the end of 2019, one South Carolina farmer was arrested for illegal hemp cultivation, and his crop was destroyed. After spending $75,000 in fees for licensing, seeds, and labor, John Trenton Pendarvis was obviously heartbroken. He has taken his case to the courts, insisting that his farm is legal under the Farm Bill.
Pendarvis was in the process of completing his amendment form for an expansion of his farm. The South Carolina attorney general said that judicial review should be sought before the destruction of the crops took place, but law enforcement bulldozed his crops during his arrest.
As you can see, penalties for ‘illegal’ hemp growers are harsh. Many farmers are thriving under the hemp program in South Carolina, but it’s still a big risk to take.
CBD Oil in South Carolina: Final Thoughts and Where to Buy
The South Carolina example shows that CBD legislation is not always clear-cut. Laws are changing all the time, too, and it can be tough to keep up.
At the time of writing, it appears that low-THC, hemp-derived CBD products are permitted. After all, numerous CBD stores and businesses are operating throughout the state without repercussions. Plus, South Carolina had 3,300 acres of planted hemp in 2019, suggesting a blossoming hemp industry that may feed into the CBD market.
With all the revenue that CBD brings, it’s unlikely that hemp or CBD will be explicitly banned any time soon. However, marijuana remains firmly illegal in this state. As a result, all products must contain less than 0.3% THC; otherwise, they are classed as marijuana – both federally and within the state.
If you’re interested in buying CBD, there are lots of places to do so. Head shops, health and wellness stores, and more are all selling these products. Plus, there are plenty of choices with brands that abide by the 0.3% THC limit. Take some time to browse and find a brand you like before buying, and always check that they have lab reports.