Delta-8 THC popularity is roaring in the palmetto state, while its legality is being debated!
This pretty much sums up the whole discussion for the article. Statistics from the International Journal of Drug Policy show that delta-8 has been highly searched in the US in 2020 and 2021. Researchers suggest that the global rate of delta-8 THC searches increased by 257% from 2019 to 2020 and 705% from 2020 to 2021, and there were 22.5 million searches in the first 8 months of 2021 alone! Similar has been the case with the sale of delta-8 products that have shown a 144% increase from April 2020 to April 2021.
Among the reasons why delta-8 became a hit was that it doesn’t have extreme effects like marijuana; this compound can be an ideal choice for the person who wants to try similar products like cannabis and marijuana but want to have little euphoric effects. Further, this can also be beneficial for medical purposes, including pain relief, reducing anxiety, boosting appetite, improving sleep patterns and focus.
Delta-8 is a young cousin of delta-9 THC, with a slight difference in its molecular structure and with less THC concentration. This element provides a psychoactive effect.
If you want to consume, purchase, distribute, manufacture delta-8 or delta-8 products or cultivate delta-8 in South Carolina. This Delta 8 THC South Carolina Legal Guide is all you need.
So, let’s get started!
Is Delta-8 legal in South Carolina?
Yes, Delta-8 is legal in South Carolina. The South Carolina legislature enacted and passed Senate Bill 3449, the hemp farming act that was synchronized with federal law, the farm bill 2018.
South Carolina Attorney General on the Legality of Delta-8
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) requested this opinion, which South Carolina AGs responded to on Oct 4, 2021. As per the south Carolina code annotated § 44-53-190(D)(18), “any THC that is not “a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 on a dry weight basis” is prohibited, and for this reason, SLED was informed that this language can criminalize the distribution, possession with intent to distribute or possession, of delta-8 THC or even any other variant of THC found in South Carolina.
South Carolina laws don’t distinguish between the different kinds of isomers of THC. But there’s a 1978 judgment in Georgia that states delta-8 as an isomer. In SC laws, all the isomers are included in schedule 1 of the controlled substances, “unless specifically excepted.” The legality of hemp, which is an exception to CSA, depends on its federally defined THC level, meaning a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.
Further, as per SLED and AG, the hemp farming act doesn’t address delta-8 THC or any other isomer except delta-9. They stated further regarding the legalization of delta-8 by referring to hemp’s definition, which included “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids and isomers” that delta-8 is considered under CSA. The only exception that is made is of delta-9 THC in the act, which involves a delta-9 concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Debate on Delta-8 and DEA
We have seen a few data above on how sales and popularity were gained by delta-8 THC but did you notice that “delta-8” was never mentioned or talked about neither in the farm bill 2018 nor in the Senate bill passed in all the states. While SC AG has talked about it in quite an explanation and has made clear that delta-8 is a controlled substance in South Carolina, other states are silent on their stand related to the legalization of delta-8. When this compound was legalized in the US in 2018, an unregulated market took birth, resulting in the marketing of illegal and harmful products sold under the name of delta-8. On the other hand, producers were trying hard to meet the growing demand for this compound as delta-8 naturally occurs in a very small amount. In between, producers started to produce it through the process of isomerization. This was done by converting CBD into Delta-8 by heating the former and facilitating the isomer to shift to a different molecular structure. Soon after these productions began, the drug enforcement agency(DEA) released an interim rule stating two things:
First, partially processed hemp(intermediary hemp) is not consumed. It threatens to include it under schedule 1 of the controlled substance act.
Second, it talks about the legality of synthetically-derived THC. They recalled the hemp definition of the farm bill. They stated that any material having a delta-9 concentration of 0.3% THC dry weight is not controlled under CSA. However, this doesn’t apply to synthetically-derived THC irrespective of its THC concentration.
However, this interim rule doesn’t impact much on the manufacturers. Where did the problem lie? Why was it so?
While the agency mentioned the term “synthetically-derived THC”, it doesn’t explain what they mean by this term. Hence, the best that was done was going by the ordinary meaning of “synthetic” that is defined as a substance “relating to, or produced by chemical or biochemical synthesis.” However, if articles and researchers are to be trusted, then isomerization falls outside the definition of synthetically-derived THC as the active ingredients in the product are naturally occurring and sourced from legal hemp.
What is Delta-8 THC?
Delta-8 is a psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in cannabis Sativa plants that are marijuana and hemp. Out of the two, hemp-derived delta-8 was legalized federally through the agricultural improvement act 2018(also known as the farm bill). This is probably the simplest explanation of delta-8 that you’ll find on the web. Hemp under farm bill 2018 is defined “as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant with a delta-9 THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent by dry weight”. Farm bill 2018 gave states the power to limit and regulate hemp production and sale within their jurisdiction. However, states did not have the power to regulate transportation and shipment across borders.
Delta-8 Possession Limit in South Carolina
Hemp has been defined as an agricultural product and has been legalized federally and at the state level. Hence, there are no possession limits defined for hemp-derived products. However, you must carry lab testing, and hemp-sourced documentation as delta-8 can be easily confused with delta-9; even if it is sent for lab testing, it will not be able to differentiate between the two compounds as there are no advanced testing labs, and currently, they only check the THC content.
The Legality of Medical and Recreational Marijuana in South Carolina
After 7 years of waiting, debating, and fighting, the South Carolina legislature legalized the medical use of marijuana. For the longest time, SC remained one of the 13 states in the US that prohibited the medical use of marijuana. With the passing of S. 150, patients with qualifying medical conditions(like cancer, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, wasting syndrome, etc.) can purchase and possess cannabis products from licensed dispensaries. All patients will be required to meet the doctors and will only be able to obtain a supply for two weeks of medical marijuana at a time.
Delta-8 Products Available in South Carolina
Delta-8 products are available in various varieties and are continuously evolving. Today, Delta 8 products are available as capsules, tinctures, vape pens, brownies, gummy bears, flowers, and more. There is still some uncertainty about using some hemp products, like hemp flower, which is illegal in South Carolina. Thus, you should use caution when consuming it.
Driving With Delta-8 in South Carolina
Yes, you can travel to South Carolina with delta-8. Also, the cross-border transportation of hemp and hemp-derived products is legalized by federal and state laws. You should be aware if you are traveling to a state with delta-8 in possession where delta-8 is not legal; make sure you have the proper documentation so that you won’t waste time in an inquiry by the local police administration. Additionally, if you are traveling by air, check if there’s any restriction listed by the airlines related to possessing delta-8.
Delta-8 Age Restrictions
While there are no special regulations related to the age to buy delta-8 federally and at the state level. Some states have fixed this age at 21, and that’s why retailers can inquire about your age and only sell you the products if you are 21 or above.
Question: Are THC Edibles Legal in South Carolina?
No, THC edibles are not legal in South Carolina.
Question: Is CBD Legal in South Carolina?
A cannabinoid is the second most prevalent non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis Sativa plant. CBD is legal in SC as long as it is sourced from legalized hemp. However, SCDA stated that CBD as an active ingredient is subject to chemical investigation if used in food or drink, and it will violate the drug and cosmetics act. Hence, South Carolina prohibited the sale and manufacture of food with CBD isolate and even as full-spectrum hemp extracts labeled as CBD. CBD oil, to remain legal, has to be labeled as hemp oil.
Question: Do I Require a Permit to Grow and Process Hemp in South Carolina?
Answer: Yes, you will be required to obtain permits to grow and process hemp. For hemp farming, South Carolina accepts applications every year; in 2022, the applications were open till February 28. The permit is issued for 1 year. The eligibility criteria to apply for a permit include:
Completing criminal background by the applicant
Proof of South Carolina residency
Criminal background check
Providing farm service agency farm number and GPS coordinates of the Location on which hemp will be grown
Submitting an application with relevant material
Attending SCDA orientation and signing hemp farming agreement along with $ 100 non-refundable application fee and $ 1000 as to permit fees
The applications are accepted online only.
To process hemp, you must obtain a South Carolina dealer and handler license and hemp processor permit, and a South Carolina weighmaster license. The process includes a background check, filling up the application, etc.
The applicant has to submit the fees of $ 100/per location; this is a non-refundable application and a $ 3000 permit fee. Please note the processor permit doesn’t allow the permit holder to cultivate, take ownership of living clones, or farm any other type of living plant/animal.
Question: How Does Hemp Differ From Marijuana?
Answer: Hemp and marijuana are both derived from the cannabis Sativa plant. They differ in the following aspects:
Chemical structure: Both of them have the same molecular structure, but they differ in the chemical positioning of their chemical structure.
THC concentration: Hemp consists of 0.3% of THC concentration, while marijuana is considered when the THC concentration is more than 0.3%.
Legality: Hemp is legal federally as well as at the state level, while marijuana is not.
Medical benefits: Hemp is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease, weight management, stabilizing blood sugar levels, etc., while marijuana helps in chronic pain, fighting cancer, regulating seizures, diabetes, etc.
The Future for Delta-8 THC in South Carolina
The future of delta-8 looks brighter in South Carolina. SC is one of the states in the US that has actively welcomed hemp before the passing of farm bill 2018. One such example was when SC signed HB 3559 on May 11, 2017, through which they legalized the growth of industrial hemp. The South Carolina legislature has been closely monitoring and updating the relevant laws related to delta-8 and delta-9, and we do not anticipate any hindrances or laws restrictions concerning delta-8 going forward.
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