South Carolina Governor Signs Industrial Hemp Law
By William Stash Jones
Oregon Cannabis Connection
On Wednesday June 21, 2017, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed the states hemp legalization legislation. The bill will eventually allow farmers across the Palmetto State to cultivate legal industrial hemp, which is defined federally as cannabis with a THC level below 0.3%.
Initially they will only be allowing 20 acre plots and only 20 licenses will be issued the first year. They will begin accepting applications in July for cultivation, but it is unclear whether farmers will have enough time to grow this season. Licensing to grow the crop mandates that growers must submit to a background check, among other requirements.
Co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Russell Ott of St, Mathews, said in May, “I know that people have already contacted the department to let them know that they are interested in applying for the permit. The bottom line is, we could have hemp being grown in South Carolina this year, and that’s exciting.”
The second year of cultivation they will issue 50 licenses for 50 acres each. After that, the states Department of Agriculture will coordinate with the state universities doing research to determine the number and size of permits that will be issued.
“As growers come aboard and products are developed, the industry has a chance to both add to a farmer’s bottom line and perhaps breathe life into some of South Carolina’s abandoned textile mills,” explained State Sen. Danny Verdin, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “This very slow and heavy regulated approach will quickly evolve into a valuable industry. Imagine if we could actually make textiles in our textile mills again.”
The bill easily passed the state’s House and Senate in May, and McMaster indicated at that time he would sign the bill when it was presented to him.
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