There was a time when South Carolina law seemed very clear on cannabis. It was illegal, plain and simple.
Greater understanding of the benefits of industrial hemp and other marijuana-related products like CBD oil has complicated the plant's legal standing in SC.
Let's be clear - marijuana and compounds containing high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are illegal in South Carolina.
But, is CBD oil legal in South Carolina? Can you grow industrial hemp in South Carolina? How does South Carolina define marijuana for purposes of arrest and prosecution?
What is Marijuana in SC?
South Carolina law first defines what is marijuana as every part of the plant and every substance derived from the plant. Seems straightforward, right?
CBD Oil is not Marijuana in SC
But, SC drug laws then define what is not marijuana. CBD (cannabidiol) products derived from the seeds or mature stalks of cannabis plants are not marijuana for purposes of drug prosecutions in SC.
SC law also excludes specific CBD products that are used to treat epilepsy and other illnesses, at least in clinical trials, and a recent SC law sets up a framework for use of CBD oil to treat illnesses like epilepsy.
So - per the definitions of what is and what is not marijuana in SC law - CBD oil is legal in SC. There is no caselaw on the issue and this is not legal advice - if you choose to possess or use CBD oil in SC, you should retain an attorney who can give you an opinion on its legality based on your specific circumstances and defend you if SC or the federal government chooses to prosecute you for it.
Hemp is not Marijuana in SC
Farmers can now legally grow hemp in South Carolina under a new law passed by the SC legislature.
The South Carolina law defines industrial hemp as it is defined by the European Union and Canada: "The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dried weight basis." Any plants above 0.3 percent THC concentration is considered marijuana and illegal in South Carolina, the law states.
Hemp is essentially marijuana without the high THC content - it doesn't get you high. It has, however, been used for more than 10,000 years to make a variety of products, including clothing, food, paper, rope, plastics, textiles, and biofuel.
Ambiguity Demands Caution
Hemp farming and use of CBD oil in SC are areas of the law that are filled with uncertainty, and attorneys should be careful when advising clients.
The fluid nature of the legal status of cannabis has led in some cases to more aggressive tactics by state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors. For example, in California, prosecutors used what many lawyers consider privileged e-mail communications to bring charges against a defense attorney who has counseled clients on the use of medical marijuana for many years.
Marijuana Defense Lawyer in Myrtle Beach SC
One thing that is certain is that, in SC, possession of marijuana - the form of the plant that contains high levels of THC - is still illegal. You will be arrested, jailed, and then prosecuted for even small amounts of marijuana.
If you find yourself in this situation - charged with possession of marijuana, distribution of marijuana, or trafficking marijuana in SC, schedule a free consultation with a defense lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us now at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.