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Recreational marijuana was illegal in all 50 states and United States territories from the time of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act until 2012. That was the year that Colorado and Washington made national headlines by being the first states in the country to legalize recreational marijuana. Since that time, 12 other states have made recreational marijuana legal. However, South Carolina is not one of them.

South Carolina Marijuana Laws

South Carolina is one of the stricter states when it comes to marijuana laws. Even if you purchased weed in a legal state, it becomes illegal again once you get back to South Carolina. As of late 2020, state law prohibits the use and sale of marijuana in any form except for CBD oil used in medical treatments. You could face one or several charges if a police officer catches you with any non-medical marijuana product. For legal purposes in South Carolina, illegal marijuana products include:

  • All varieties and species of marijuana plants, whether you are currently cultivating them or not.
  • Resin that you extract from any portion of the marijuana plant.
  • Seeds used to grow marijuana plants.
  • Compounds, derivatives, mixture used to prepare the marijuana plant for growing, and salt.

Some South Carolina legislatures have introduced bills regarding both medical and recreational marijuana. However, the state Congress has yet to adopt any measures that would change current laws in any meaningful way. The only exception to this is the recent decriminalization of the possession of drug paraphernalia.

Charges You Could Face for Violating South Carolina’s Marijuana Laws

Here are the current penalties you could face under SC law if convicted of violating any of its marijuana laws:


South Carolina does not permit residents to grow any amount of marijuana plants. The current penalty for growing up to 100 plants is up to a $5,000 fine and five years in prison. If caught growing between 100 and 1,000 plants, you could receive a fine of up to $25,000 and 25 years in prison.

Hash and All Concentrates:

Because hash oil and marijuana concentrates are more potent than weed that you smoke, the state has lowered the amount you must possess to charge you with a crime. The current penalty is a fine up to $200 and a jail sentence of up to 30 days for possession of 10 grams of concentrate or less. The penalties increase to a fine of up to $5,000 and five years in prison for possession of more than 10 grams. Additionally, you face increased penalties for multiple violations.

Simple Possession:

The penalty for possession of up to 28 grams (one ounce) of marijuana is up to 30 days in jail and a fine determined by the judge who sentences you. A conviction of simple possession also includes suspension of your driver’s license for six months. You face up to one year in prison if convicted of a second offense.


South Carolina has decriminalized the possession of drug paraphernalia associated with weed. The only penalty is a $500 fine.

Sale and/or Trafficking:

The penalties for this offense vary greatly depending on the weight of the marijuana. South Carolina has established several weight categories ranging from under 10 pounds to more than 10,000 pounds. Criminal penalties range from one to 25 years in prison and fines from $5,000 to $200,000. You face an additional charge of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for selling or trafficking weed within one-half mile of a public park or school. All charges are felonies.

Contact Defense Attorney Sara A. Turner for a Consultation

Sara Turner is an experienced criminal defense attorney in South Carolina who will present evidence to dismiss or reduce the charges against you. Please contact our Charleston, South Carolina law office at 843-277-2431 or complete this form to request a callback.


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