Before you pack your bags to visit the Palmetto state to enjoy its historic sites, beautiful landscapes and richly diverse culture, you should know that weed is illegal. Of all the things you want to do in South Carolina, getting arrested is definitely not on the list.
Our guide delves deeper into what you need to know about South Carolina’s weed laws in 2023, including associated penalties.
Weed Laws in South Carolina 2023
South Carolina remains one of the few states in the US where weed is fully illegal. Others include Idaho, Kansas, and Wyoming. This means that if you’re found in possession of weed for recreational and medicinal purposes, you may face felony or misdemeanor charges.
However, there have been efforts to change this over the years, especially for medical cannabis. For instance, on December 9 2020, the Senate prefilled the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which was later referred to the House of Representatives for approval. This was the first time any cannabis legalization bill was debated in South Carolina. However, this bill didn’t go through.
The efforts didn’t stop there. Another bill, S 335, was presented that sought to allow 21-year-olds or more adults to purchase up to one ounce of weed and up to five grams of concentrates. This unsuccessful bill would have allowed adults to cultivate up to six plants at home.
Another unpassed bill, S 268, sought to involve the voters in deciding whether or not to legalize recreational weed during the November 2022 elections.
Early this year, two bills, H 3226 and H 3486 ( Compassionate Care Act), seeking to legalize medical weed, were presented to the South Carolina House of Representatives. If these bills pass, they’ll decriminalize weed use in the state.
However, there’s one law in South Carolina that allows certain people that meet specific requirements to consume weed. Passed in 2014, Julian’s Law allows patients suffering from epilepsy to consume a product with at least 15% CBD and less than 0.9% THC. The law also allowed the patients to participate in CBD research approved by the FDA.
Is recreational weed legal in South Carolina?
As of 5th December 2023, recreational weed is still a no-go in South Carolina. However, some of the bills mentioned above sought to decriminalize weed use in the future. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean weed will be legal for recreational use, but it’ll reduce the severity of penalties for weed offenses on the state level.
Penalties for weed-related crimes in South Carolina
Now that you know that weed is still legal in South Carolina, let’s dive into the penalties in case you commit a weed-related offense. They can be categorized into:
If you’re found with 28 grams or less of weed, the charge is a misdemeanor and you may receive 30 days jail term or a $200 fine. If you’re a repeating offender, you may get a one-year jail term or $ 2,000 or both.
If you’re found with more than 28 grams, you’ll be charged with possession with intent to distribute and this is a felony offense. Also, if there is communication evidence showing an intent to sell, this is a felony charge. For the first timer, you can receive a five-year jail term or a $ 5000 fine. For a second offense, you can be jailed for up to 10 years or be slapped with a $10, 000 fine. Repeating offenders possessing more than 28 grams can receive anywhere between five to twenty years in the slammer or a $20,000 fine, or both.
If you’re found in possession of ten pounds or more of weed, you can be charged with trafficking, and the penalty may vary depending on the amount. For instance, a person possessing more than 10 pounds but less than 100 pounds must get a minimum of one year behind bars but less than ten years and a $10, 000 fine if it’s the first offense.
For a second offense, they must get a jail term of between five years and twenty years and a $25, 000 fine. A repeating offender must get a minimum sentence of 25 years and a $25,000 fine.
If you have over 100 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds or between 100 and 1,000 cannabis plants, you must serve a 25-year imprisonment and pay a fine of $25,000.
Trafficking over 2,000 pounds but less than 10, 000 pounds or between 1,000 and 10, 000 plants, you’ll get a 25-year jail term and must pay a $50,000 fine.
This describes anything used to smoke, manufacture, or consume weed, including water pipes, bongs, vaporizers, and more. In South Carolina, you can get a $500 fine if found in possession of paraphernalia.
Is CBD legal in South Carolina?
Yes, you can purchase, consume or sell CBD in South Carolina. However, it must be derived from the hemp plant and contain less than 0.3% THC. If you’re planning to sell CBD products you must not label them as dietary supplements.
Navigating the Palmetto State’s cannabis landscape
Before you visit South Carolina, you should be conversant with the local laws and regulations surrounding cannabis. This will save you from hefty fines and potentially going to jail.