While the possession and sale of marijuana remain illegal under federal law, many states have legalized or decriminalized this drug. However, South Carolina still retains relatively severe penalties for marijuana.

Despite various attempts to change the state’s laws to allow marijuana for medicinal use, South Carolina has not yet passed a medical marijuana legalization bill.

Penalties for marijuana possession and sale

According to FindLaw, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor that may lead to up to one month in jail and a $200 fine for the first offense. Subsequent offenses involving less than 1 ounce of marijuana may lead to harsher penalties: fines up to $1,000 and 12 months in jail.

The penalties for selling marijuana are much more severe. The state may count the sale of marijuana as a felony. The first offense may lead to jail time of up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. Selling to a minor may lead to longer jail sentences and higher fines.

Laws relating to hemp

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture states that even though hemp is a variety of cannabis, the law treats it differently than marijuana. Generally, hemp contains a very low concentration of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The dividing line between marijuana and hemp depends on the THC concentration. The law considers low-THC substances to be hemp, an agricultural product. Cannabis products with high THC concentrations count as illegal drugs. The state allows individuals to grow, sell and process hemp for a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications.