Marijuana law reform has been getting a fair amount of coverage in the press over the last few weeks. Following the voting cycle on November 8th, California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts have fully legalized medical and recreational use of marijuana for legal adults. Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota and Florida have all legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Marijuana use is now legal in eight states and the District of Columbia. Despite legalization on the state level, marijuana is still considered illegal under federal and South Carolina law. Knowing the law of the state of South Carolina could save you considerable time and expense.
If you are caught will 1 ounce or less of flower or concentrates, you may be incarcerated for 30 days and you may be fined up to $200. Being caught will 1 ounce or less after your first offense will result in up to a year of jail time and up to $2,000 in fines. Both the first offense and additional offenses are considered misdemeanors. However, possession of paraphernalia is considered a civil citation and has no imprisonment, though you could possibly be fined up to $500.
Sale and/or Trafficking
All sale and trafficking offenses are considered felonies and the penalties associated with them are significantly more severe than penalties for possession.
If you are convicted of the sale or trafficking of fewer than 10 pounds, you may be charged with up to 5 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5000. If you are convicted of the sale or trafficking of 10-100 pounds, the first offense will come with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year of jail time and it may be up to 10 years. Additionally, you will be fined up to $10,000. For the second offense, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in prison, but it may be up to 20, and a fine of up to $25,000. The third offense will result in minimum of 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
A conviction of the sale and/or trafficking of between 100 to 10,000+ pounds of marijuana all have a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison. The fines will range from $25,000 to $200,000. All sale and trafficking convictions are felonies.
If you are found to be growing fewer than 100 plants, you may be charged with up to 5 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000. If you are convicted of growing between 100 and 10,000 plants, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison and fines ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. All cultivation charges are felonies.
These are just the basics of marijuana laws in South Carolina. If you find yourself in the situation of possibly being charged with some form of marijuana-related offense, you may want to consider seeking the services of a legal professional. Their knowledge and expertise will be a great service.