While the possession of marijuana may be legal in more states across the country than ever before, it is still illegal to possess, buy or sell in South Carolina. Marijuana laws in South Carolina govern and establish punishment guidelines for acts such as distribution of marijuana, the sale of marijuana, and the possession of drug paraphernalia such as water pipes. First time offenders facing minor charges may be able to get by with a successful pretrial drug abuse program, while repeat offenders can face steep fines and months in jail if not years. If you are facing criminal penalties relating to marijuana in SC, you need the legal services of a qualified attorney.
At TF Law we feel particularly passionate about drug-related offenses, where the sentencing can be incredibly harsh. We will use our expertise to build a strong and aggressive defense to get the best possible result for your case and protect you from costly fines and criminal convictions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our criminal lawyers in Greenville to start working on your case!
Is Marijuana Legal in South Carolina?
The short answer to this question is “No.” However, there have been some recent developments that suggest that it could be someday. Still, many people wonder what happens if they get caught with a small amount of marijuana. Let's take a closer look at that.
What Parts of the Marijuana Plant are Illegal in South Carolina?
South Carolina Law defines which parts of the marijuana plant are illegal to possess. All varieties of marijuana and every part of the plant, seeds, and resin are illegal to possess in the state. It is legal, however to possess mature marijuana stalks or fibers from the stalks of mature plants, as well as oil or cakes made from the seeds of a marijuana plant. Paraphernalia, defined as anything designed or intended for use in ingesting, manufacturing, or preparing a controlled substance, is illegal to possess. Examples of paraphernalia include bongs, pipes, and roach clips. Paraphernalia charges are civil, meaning you face fines and no jail time, but they can still show up on your SLED criminal record.
Legal Marijuana In Other States
While marijuana is becoming legalized in an increasing number of states around the country, you should remember that state laws end at their borders. Marijuana that you obtained legally in another state will still be illegal if you bring it into South Carolina. Until the state of South Carolina changes the laws surrounding marijuana possession, you will face charges if you are caught with it in the state.
Criminal Charges for Marijuana in South Carolina
Marijuana charges in South Carolina establish different thresholds for different punishments. Each charge will carry more severe penalties for subsequent offenses. It is important to remember that drug charges do not require the same substance to count as a second or third offense. As an example, if you were previously convicted for possession of cocaine, and were just arrested for possession of marijuana, the new charge would be marked up to a second offense and carry harsher penalties. Anyone facing drug charges, no matter how small they may seem, would benefit from the knowledge and experience of a qualified Greenville, SC drug charge lawyer.
Possession of 1 ounce or less is a misdemeanor offense. You will face a maximum sentence of 30 days in jail and a fine of $100-$200. You may be granted a conditional release based on taking part in a pretrial intervention program.
Any subsequent convictions for possession of 1 ounce or less will be a misdemeanor offense facing a maximum of 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2000.
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Sale or Trafficking
The sale of controlled substances, including marijuana, is a felony offense that scales based on the amount. The punishments will change as follows:
- Up to 10lbs - maximum sentence of 5 years in prison with a maximum fine of $5,000
- 1st offense between 10 and 100lbs - prison sentence between 1 and 10 years with a maximum fine of $10,000
- 2nd offense between 10 and 100lbs - prison sentence between 5 and 20 years with a maximum fine of $25,000
- 3rd or subsequent offense between 10 and 100lbs - mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison with a fine of $25,000
- Sale of between 100 and 2,000lbs - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000
- Sale of between 2,000 and 10,000lbs - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000
- Sale of over 10,000lbs - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $200,000
- Sale to a minor or within 1/2 a mile of a school, playground, or public park is classified as a felony offense carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Cultivation of marijuana plants is a felony offense that scales based on the volume you raise. The punishments will change as follows:
- Fewer than 100 plants - maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000
- Between 100 and 1,000 plants - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum fine of $25,000
- Between 1,000 and 10,000 plants - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum fine of $50,000
- Over 10,000 plants - mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and a maximum fine of $200,000
Hash & Concentrates
The possession of hashish or hashish concentrates is a criminal offense that scales depending on the amount found. The punishments will change as follows:
- 1st offense simple possession of 10g or less - misdemeanor offense with up to 30 days of jail time and a fine between $100-$200
- 2nd offense simple possession of 10g or less - misdemeanor offense with up to 1 year of jail time and a fine between $200-$1,000
Per SC law, possession of over 10g of hashish or hashish oil is considered possession with intent to distribute.
- 1st offense PWID - maximum sentence of 5 years and a maximum fine of $5,000
- 2nd offense PWID - felony offense with a maximum sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $10,000
- 3rd or subsequent offense PWID - felony offense with a mandatory sentence of 5-20 years and a maximum fine of $20,000
Drug paraphernalia is illegal to manufacture or distribute. Possessing paraphernalia is a civil citation punishable by up to $500 in fines.
South Carolina allows for conditional release or alternative or diversion pretrial sentencing for individuals facing first time prosecution. Conditional release will let the individual choose probation over a trial with the benefit that their criminal record will not show the charge after successful completion of probation.
Learn More: Greenville Felony Drug Charge Lawyer
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?
If you or someone you know has been arrested on marijuana charges in South Carolina you should seek the legal advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help with the specifics of your case. A qualified lawyer will be able to answer any question you may have about your case and how it might play out. Hiring an experienced and talented attorney can give you the resources, skill, and knowledge needed to get the best possible results out of your case. Your attorney will also be able to help you decide if you should go to court, take a plea bargain, or seek reduced charges.
Facing Charges for Marijuana in South Carolina?
If you have been charged with committing marijuana crimes in the state of South Carolina you need to be informed of all the possibilities that you could face. Different amounts of marijuana carry different sentencing guidelines, and you need to be aware of the ramifications it can have on your case if you go to trial. First-time offenders may be able to pick up lesser penalties such as a pretrial rehabilitation program. Work with our drug crimes attorney at TF Law if you face drug possession charges or other types of criminal drug charges. Call us today or schedule an appointment online to see how we can help your case!