December 28, 2020 7 min read

A map with a push pin marking South Carolina

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is federally legal, but every state has the right to decide how CBD will be regulated and marketed in the state.

In some cases, states have adopted a total ban on CBD, while others have generally relaxed hemp laws and a fully-accessible CBD market.

For residents of the Palmetto State, laws aren't so clear cut.

Is CBD legal in South Carolina? And if so, where can you find it?

Here's our breakdown of CBD laws in South Carolina to help you decide:


Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in South Carolina?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in South Carolina?
Does South Carolina have a CBD possession limit?
Do you need a prescription for CBD in South Carolina?
Where to buy CBD in South Carolina?
Do you have to be 21 to buy CBD in South Carolina?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Resources

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

Key Takeaways

Hemp is legal in South Carolina, including it's "full spectrum material" as long as it meets certain requirements and is marketed without health claims.

The state originally prohibited CBD food products, but now that may not be the case.

You don't need a prescription to get CBD in South Carolina, and there are no age limits in place for buying CBD.

The state has relaxed CBD regulations that may not ensure consumer safety on their own. Shopping online may give you better oversight of brand quality, and many online CBD brands ship legal CBD products to South Carolina to buyers aged 18 and up.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

That’s not all—

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

Two varieties of CBD oil, a popular type of CBD product in South Carolina

What are the CBD laws in South Carolina?

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed SB 1035 into law in 2015, a bill informally known as Julian’s Law. This bill was the first to introduce access to CBD in the state, but only for children with various qualifying conditions. The bill did set the stage for CBD for medicinal purposes in the state, specifying that oils must contain at least 98% CBD and no more than 0.9% THC. At the time, CBD distribution was also limited to one state university, the Medical University of South Carolina.

In 2017, the state expanded hemp access for a different reason--to diversify its agricultural commodities. In 2017, the state passed H3559, a bill that laid groundwork for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in the state. Many cannabis-friendly states, like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, began hemp production in the state with similar programs. This bill also designated the South Carolina Department of Agriculture as authority, permitting them to hand out a limited number of growing licenses each year.

After the 2018 Farm Bill became federal law, South Carolina acted to expand access to hemp once again. Governor Henry D McMaster signed the South Carolina Hemp Farming Act, a bill that removed some of the restrictions laid out by the pilot program. Under the new law, more growing licenses could be approved, and farmers could grow more acreage of hemp at a time.

At this point, however, the state had still made new mention of CBD and their stance on CBD production was entirely unclear.

In 2019, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture released a statement that exclaimed that CBD, on its own, is legal in the state. However, CBD added to any food products, either for humans or animals, is prohibited. This is in line with the FDA's current ruling on CBD as a food additive, and many other states (see Minnesota, California, and New Hampshire) have taken this same stance.

The original statement seems to have been retracted, and the state's department of agriculture later released a "quick guide" document to further explain how hemp can and cannot be used.

The document specifies that "full spectrum" hemp material can be used in consumable goods so long as the product is not marketed with any health claims and contains less than 0.3% THC.

All in all, CBD products are legal and accessible across the state, and there are currently no penalties for consumer possession of legally-sourced hemp CBD products.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in South Carolina?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate is legal in many places since it contains no THC, but many consumers are worried that the trace amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD products may cause trouble in states where cannabis is illegal. South Carolina has no laws restricting CBD with less than 0.3% THC, and even mentions “full spectrum" hemp material as a legal additive for products.

Does South Carolina have a CBD possession limit?

There are no defined CBD possession limits in South Carolina. Products that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered cannabis products, which are illegal and subject to harsh penalty in the state.

Do you need a prescription for CBD in South Carolina?

There is no need for a prescription to access CBD products in South Carolina. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in South Carolina?

A handful of CBD oil capsules, which may be legal but are not well regulated in South Carolina stores.

South Carolina has relaxed hemp laws, and you may be able to find many different types of CBD products in stores across the state. Although South Carolina does impose some quality and labelling regulations, most of the focus is on the THC content of products or the way they are marketed. In other words, the state doesn't necessarily regulate quality and you should be cautious when buying CBD from local stores.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

Do you have to be 21 to buy CBD in South Carolina?

In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained its popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

Still, the legal age to buy CBD is mostly undefined, even on a federal level. In South Carolina, there are no minimum age requirements, but CBD may not be easily accessible to everyone.

Generally, the minimum age for purchase is decided by the vendor. The legal age for buying tobacco has been increased to 21, and it's possible that most CBD vendors will require buyers to meet this minimum age requirement as well.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to South Carolina.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in South Carolina, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.

Resources

  1. “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “S 1035” https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess120_2013-2014/bills/1035.htm
  3. “H3559” https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess122_2017-2018/bills/3559.htm
  4. “Hemp Farming Act” https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t46c055.php
  5. “Hemp Products in Human Food Quick Guide” https://agriculture.sc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/HempCBDFoodGuide2019_V2.pdf

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