1. What is hemp?
Hemp is a variety of the plant Cannabis sativa that is low in the chemical THC. Here’s the definition under South Carolina state law: ‘Hemp’ or ‘industrial hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the non-sterilized seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with the federally defined THC level for hemp.
2. How does hemp differ from marijuana?
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa, but they differ in concentrations of THC. Legally, THC levels determine whether the substance is considered an agricultural product or a regulated drug. Federal and South Carolina law define hemp as any part of the plant with a THC concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent on a dried weight basis. Anything above that is considered marijuana and is illegal in the state.
3. What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a naturally occurring chemical responsible for many of marijuana’s psychoactive effects.
4. What is CBD?
Hemp is a plant and CBD is a compound. Hemp is not CBD. “Partially processed” hemp is not CBD, either. Even “full spectrum” hemp extracts suspended in a carrier oil are more akin to hemp than pure CBD since they contain an array of phytonutrients. Although such extracts include CBD, they cannot in any reasonable sense be called CBD. We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD this way. More information can be found in our Hemp Products in Human Food Quick Guide.
5. What is Delta-8 and is it legal in South Carolina?
Per the FDA, Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance produced naturally by the cannabis plant, but not found in significant amounts in the cannabis plant. As a result, they note, concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived CBD.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture understands that the South Carolina Hemp Farming Act does not provide an exception for, and does not legalize, delta-8 THC. Further, SCDA understands that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) takes the position that “any and all THC that is not ‘a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis’ is specifically prohibited”. This understanding was confirmed by a South Carolina Attorney General Option dated October 4, 2021 where Assistant Attorney General David Jones clarifies that delta-8 THC is viewed as illegal by his office in an opinion for the Chief of SLED. You may access that opinion here.
6. What are hemp’s potential uses?
Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation, supplements, oils, cosmetics, and biofuel.
1. How do I apply to grow hemp?
SCDA will take applications for the 2022 growing season from January 1, 2022, through February 28, 2022. The application requirements include: a criminal background check, South Carolina residency, and an application fee. Full details can be found here.
2. How many acres can I use to grow hemp?
The number of acres a Permitted Hemp Farmer can farm is not limited by state law. However, all acreage on which a farmer intends to plant must be on record with SCDA prior to planting or growing.
3. Do I have to be a South Carolina resident to farm hemp?
To be a Permitted Hemp Farmer, you are required to be a State of South Carolina resident. The address submitted on the application must be linked to a South Carolina address and is cross-checked with the results of the background check. Other proofs of residency may also be required by SCDA.
4. How do I apply to be a Hemp Processor?
Those seeking to process hemp in South Carolina must obtain a South Carolina Dealer and Handler License (NOT a Hemp Handler Permit) and a South Carolina Weighmaster License as well as a Hemp Processor Permit. Separate fees and requirements apply. The Hemp Processor application and other information are available here.
5. What if I’m not farming or processing hemp, but I’m still planning to work with hemp in some way?
SCDA has created a new permit category for hemp handlers. There are several categories of Permitted Hemp Handler:
- Warehouse/Storage/Drying Facility
- Seed Dealer/Supplier
- Other (Broker, R&D, Sales Rep)
Separate fees and permit requirements apply. More information about the Hemp Handler Permit is available here.
6. Do I need a hemp permit to sell CBD products in a store?
No. Retail locations and hemp products are not regulated by SCDA.
7. Can I process hemp if I only have a Hemp Farming Permit?
No. A hemp farming permit does not allow a farmer/grower to process their own hemp or another farmer’s hemp. A separate processing permit is required and is a part of the South Carolina State Plan.
1. Is hemp easy to grow?
Hemp is a labor-intensive crop. The estimated input cost to grow hemp is between $10,000 and $15,000 per acre. This cost includes labor, seed, and transplants or clones.
2. Are there grants available for hemp farming?
SCDA does not have research-funded grants currently available but is exploring the possibility of funding select research projects.
3. Can hemp be transported across state lines to be processed?
Yes. Per USDA’s interim final rule on hemp released in October 2019, states and Indian tribes may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under a state or tribal plan or under a permit issued under the USDA plan.
4. Is there any training available for the growing of hemp?
SCDA does not provide training for the growing of hemp. Clemson Extension is a resource for hemp farming information, including in-field consultations.
5. Are there any guidelines for the use of insecticides and pesticides for the growing of hemp?
The South Carolina Department of Pesticide Regulation at Clemson University has released a list of pesticides approved for use on hemp in South Carolina. However, a DPR official notes in the news release, “Before any pesticide on this list is used in South Carolina, the grower must first make sure it is registered for use in the state. Pesticide dealers also must ensure that any pesticide on this list is registered in the state before making it available for wholesale or retail purchase by growers.” More information about hemp and pesticides can be found here and here.
6. Can I sell hemp plants to other hemp farmers?
Permitted hemp farmers who wish to sell hemp plants, clones or transplants to other permitted farmers or out of state must obtain a Live Plant Certification from Clemson University. For licensing information, please visit Clemson’s Nursery and Dealer Licensing page or contact Nursery Programs Coordinator Negar Edwards at 864-646-2126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**All information is subject to change or being further clarified and cannot be considered legally binding. This information is for advice/planning purposes only.