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Weed laws have relaxed for most U.S. states over the years, but South Carolina marijuana laws remain restrictive. Residents, medical professionals, and congress members alike continue to fight for South Carolina weed rights, and they’re not giving up now. 


Marijuana legislation in the southeast state is on the verge of a turning point, meaning medical treatment for patients could soon see improvement. Is medical marijuana legal in South Carolina? Will marijuana be legal in South Carolina in the coming years? How long until weed is legal in South Carolina? Let’s find out.

History of Cannabis in South Carolina


South Carolina got the cannabis ball rolling when the Senate unanimously passed Julian’s Law in 2014. This law permits qualified patients diagnosed with severe epilepsy to possess and use CBD products with at least 15% CBD and a maximum of 0.9% THC – under doctor’s orders. 


Then, in 2020, the South Carolina Legislature introduced the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act. This act allowed patients with “debilitating health conditions” to use medical cannabis. Under this bill, the state would regulate medical cannabis at all stages and require a written certification and treatment plan from a physician to possess and consume it.


The S.C. Compassionate Care Act is revolutionary for the state, bringing cannabis legalization in South Carolina closer to fruition than ever before.

Legislation Attempts


A year after its introduction, the Senate did not pass the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, as other bills took priority in 2021. But Congress promised to vote on South Carolina marijuana laws in 2022. The Senate began debating the bill, which is the first time this legislation has made it to the chamber floor.


The bill is a special order, which means Congress must vote on it before any other legislation is taken up. Its lead sponsor, Senator Tom Davis, who has been fighting for medical cannabis legalization in South Carolina for eight years, is hopeful that this time it will pass. Is legal medical marijuana in South Carolina a near possibility?

Is Weed Legal in South Carolina?


37 states have removed state-level criminal penalties from the medical use, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis. Finally, medical cannabis legalization in South Carolina could mean removing these penalties as well.


Will marijuana be legal in South Carolina? Currently, adult-use cannabis is illegal in the state of South Carolina. So, the question of how long until weed is legal in South Carolina still stands. While recreational use seems to be out of the question, the legalization of medical marijuana in the state is seeing significant movement.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in South Carolina?

Not yet. If the S.C. Compassionate Care Act passes, physicians will be able to treat patients with debilitating health conditions using medical cannabis.


Debilitating health conditions refer to cancer, multiple sclerosis, neurologic disorders, terminal illnesses, or conditions for which opioids are the standard care. The bill would also create a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board that would consider petitions to add other serious conditions to the program.


South Carolina residents would be able to possess up to two ounces of non-smokable cannabis when certified by a physician for one of the above conditions. Non-smokable cannabis includes edible cannabis products, beverages, topical products, ointments, oils, tinctures, and more.


Even under the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, smokable cannabis products would be illegal. After all, Senator Tom Davis has been known to refer to the bill as the most restrictive and conservative medical marijuana law in the country.

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in South Carolina?


No, marijuana is not currently decriminalized in South Carolina. In November of 2021, South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. But the chair of the South Carolina GOP shut it down. He stated that the South Carolina Republican Party is “against any effort to legalize or decriminalize the use of controlled substances.”

What Happens if You Get Caught Smoking Weed in South Carolina?


The justice system in South Carolina could serve serious charges for the simple possession of marijuana, as well as life-altering punishment for more severe offenses. South Carolina weed laws are extremely strict, with no indication of change on a non-medical level.



    • 1 ounce or less: misdemeanor, a maximum sentence of 30 days imprisonment, a fine of $100 to $200
    • Second possession charge of 1 ounce or less: misdemeanor, a maximum sentence of 1-year imprisonment, a maximum fine of $2,000
    • Any amount over 1 ounce can be treated as a distribution crime

Sale or Trafficking


      • Sale of up to 10 pounds: felony, a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $5,000 
      • Transaction of 10 to 100 pounds: felony, 1 to 25 years imprisonment, a $10,000 to $25,000 fine ranging between first and third offense 
      • Sale of 100+ pounds: felony, at least 25 years imprisonment. a fine between $25,000 and $200,000



    • Civil citation, maximum fine of $500

LEARN MORE: Will We Finally See Legal Marijuana in South Dakota?

Growing Marijuana in South Carolina


South Carolina weed laws state that the cultivation of fewer than 100 plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Cultivation of more than 100 plants is a felony punishable by a minimum of 25 in prison and a fine between $25,000 and $200,000.


Since home cultivation of cannabis would still be illegal under the S.C. Compassionate Care Act, growing marijuana in South Carolina won’t be part of upcoming cannabis law changes.

Current Status Of South Carolina Marijuana Laws


In South Carolina, anticipation among residents requiring medical marijuana is high as the state moves closer to potentially changing its stance on cannabis laws. The spotlight is on the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, legislation specifically designed to create a medical cannabis program.


The proposed act focuses exclusively on medical cannabis, distinguishing it from broader recreational use legalization efforts. As of now, the discussion revolves around Senate Bill 423, which remains under active consideration.


Should this bill pass, South Carolina is poised to become the 39th U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s ongoing dialogue on medical marijuana policy.


Curious about medical marijuana laws in your state? Check out our FAQs for more.

Stay Informed with Elevate Holistics


South Carolina weed laws are changing at a rapid pace, and Elevate Holistics are ready to break down up-and-coming cannabis regulations. We’ll be here when the big question is answered: is medical marijuana legal in South Carolina? And when that time comes, S.C. residents can come to Elevate Holistics to begin their medical marijuana journey. 


Is medical marijuana already legal in your state? Elevate Holistics will help you get your MMJ card as quickly and easily as possible. Using industry standard security and compliance-compliant medical marijuana processes, we’ll connect you with board-certified cannabis physicians for an online appointment.


Book here to begin the 100% virtual process of receiving your MMJ card.

Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

About the author

Michael Lawal is a seasoned content writer with specialized expertise in the medical cannabis industry. With a background that blends journalism and health sciences, Michael has a knack for translating complex medical cannabis research into accessible and engaging content. His writing portfolio showcases a range of work from informative articles and research summaries to patient education materials. Committed to raising awareness about the benefits and responsible use of medical cannabis, Michael's work is a valuable resource for both consumers and professionals in the field.
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