The South Carolina legislature has cannabis on their minds and seem to be okay with industrial hemp, but don't think they are coming close to actually legalizing pot anytime soon.
A bill allowing South Carolina farmers to grow industrial hemp moved through a state Senate agriculture panel Thursday with little opposition and a lot of support. Meanwhile, state Sen. Tom Davis filed a bill that would allow doctors to recommend CBD-rich oil to patients with seizure disorders.
The hemp bill, S 839, would allow farmers to cultivate hemp so long as it remains below certain THC levels. In order to prevent people from hiding actual ganja plants in with their hemp plants, there are provisions expressly outlawing that from happening (Editor's note: That's something no grower would actually do anyway because of cross-contamination of hemp pollen with female marijuana plants).
According to state Sen. Greg Hembree, law enforcement and "exceedingly conservative" supporters of his all gave their support to the hemp bill. Supporters say the state could jump on this chance and become a leader in hemp production.
"You can go down to Rosewood Market or Earth Fare and buy hemp seeds, and they're from Canada," said Wayne Borders, president of the Columbia, SC chapter of NORML, at the hearing. "If South Carolina could get on this early, we could reap economic benefits."
On the medical end of things, Davis says his CBD-only bill will allow patients the relief they need without opening the door to outright cannabis production in his state. He says that the bill would also open the doors for research of CBD oils at state universities.
"The doctors and medical research facilities at [Medical University of South Carolina] are every bit as good as those in New York and San Francisco," Davis told WLTX 19. "I want to legally empower MUSC and its epileptologists to prescribe CBD oil to those with intractable epilepsy."