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What you need to know about South Carolina’s marijuana laws

If you are an out-of-state student attending one of South Carolina’s many fine colleges, universities, and professional schools, you need to know that our state likely has far more restrictive marijuana laws than your home state. In fact, South Carolina has some of the most restrictive marijuana laws in the country.

While our state allows the very limited use of certain cannabis derivatives by patients suffering from seizure disorders, this law remains murky at best. In addition, a recent State Legislature bill that would have extended medical marijuana usage failed to even make it to a hearing. Under no circumstances is recreational marijuana usage legal. Consequently, you can face arrest, prosecution and conviction of drug possession if law enforcement officers find even a small amount of marijuana in your pockets, home or car.

Marijuana defined

Per Section 44-53-100 of the South Carolina Code dealing with poisons, drugs and other controlled substances, marijuana includes all of the following:

  • All parts, including seeds, and all species or varieties of the marijuana plant
  • Any resin extracted from a marijuana plant
  • All compounds, salts, derivatives and mixtures derived from a marijuana plant

Penalties upon conviction

If convicted of possessing less than one ounce of marijuana, you face 30 days in jail and/or a fine of between $100 and $200. For a subsequent conviction, you face a one-year prison term and/or a fine of between $200 and $1,000. If convicted of possessing over one ounce of marijuana, this is prima facie evidence of your intent to sell as well as to possess.

All marijuana crimes are misdemeanors for which you face jail time of up to six months and/or a $1,000 fine for your first conviction. Subsequent convictions remain misdemeanors, but the penalties increase to one year in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.

Obviously, South Carolina takes marijuana possession very seriously. Despite your undoubtedly more liberal attitude toward this popular drug, you nevertheless would do well to curtail your usage of it while here in this state. The last thing you need is a drug conviction. Not only could it negatively impact your student status, it also could come back to haunt you in your current or future employment endeavors.

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