South Carolina Quietly Legalizes Growing Hemp

Lost to most in the flurry of legislation at the end of the South Carolina General Assembly’s session earlier this month was a bill legalizing the growth of industrial hemp. Not pot, but hemp.

Industrial hemp is different from its cousin marijuana in that it contains 0.3 percent or less of the psychoactive chemical that will get you high. Marijuana, a separate variety of Cannabis sativa, can contain up to 40 percent.

Hemp is used for myriad purposes, from food to clothing to composites for car and airplane parts to oils for dietary supplements. Soon, perhaps this summer, the S.C. Department of Agriculture and the State Law Enforcement Division will issue 20 licenses to grow crops on up to 20 acres as a pilot program.

“It’s my hope that they will act very quickly,” said State Sen. Danny Verdin, R-Laurens, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Verdin,...

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