Cannabis enthusiasts have been buzzing with excitement following delta 8's national legalization in 2018. This hemp-based cannabinoid is becoming increasingly popular with old and new stoners alike. Despite federal laws, some states have banned and criminalized the compound. Is the Palmetto State a restrictive one, or is delta 8 legal in South Carolina?
Is Delta 8 Legal in South Carolina?
Delta 8's legal history in the United States can best be understood by looking back at the federal Farm Bill of 2018. In recent years, hemp production has seen a tremendous boost thanks to the Farm Bill, also commonly referred to as the Agriculture Improvement Act.
The Farm Bill did many things for the cannabinoid industry, but among the most important was the legal distinction between marijuana and hemp. Although the two plants are scientifically alike, the Farm Bill legally differentiates the two. While hemp refers to cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less, cannabis with THC levels above 0.3% is considered marijuana.
Most crucially, the Agriculture Improvement Act federally legalized hemp and all of its derivatives, including compounds like delta 8. Marijuana, however, remains a strictly illegal and controlled substance under federal law-- although the Biden administration has put out a statement announcing this is subject to change. For now, only cannabis products made from hemp and containing less than 0.3% THC are federally legal.
But now, back to the Palmetto State—is delta 8 legal in South Carolina?
Enacted in early 2019, South Carolina’s House Bill 3449 legalized all hemp derivatives, tetrahydrocannabinols, cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, isomers, and salts within the state. It also removed these compounds from its list of controlled substances. This means that hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta 8 are 100% lawful in the state!
However, things aren’t quite that simple in the Palmetto State. In the fall of 2021, the state’s Attorney General released an opinion stating that delta 8 is not covered by the Hemp Farming Act and, therefore, not legal in South Carolina. This statement is based on the idea that delta 8 is not considered a “natural derivative” of cannabis, and as a non-natural extract, it is illegal. This is because, unlike compounds like delta 9, delta 8 is only found in small amounts naturally, so manufacturers derive delta 8 from hemp-derived CBD in a lab environment. Because delta 8 products contain more 0.3% delta 8 THC, the Attorney General believes that the compound does not meet the “federally defined THC level for hemp.” That said, however, the Farm Bill is very specific and unambiguous in explaining that its 0.3% THC cap is exclusive and specifically for delta 9 THC, not other cannabinoids, making delta 8 technically legal at the federal and state levels.
That same year, a vape shop was raided in the state, after which police seized $5,00 worth of products. Police claimed the delta 8 products the shop was selling were illegal, but the owner says otherwise. Police stated that delta 8 is illegal in the Palmetto State, citing SC Law 44-53-0190, which they claim classifies delta 8 as a controlled substance due to its high THC contents. The law, however, does not specifically address delta 8, and South Carolina’s Hemp Farming Act only states that products cannot have more than 0.3% delta 9 THC. The store owner also claims the police never showed him a warrant or any other documentation upon entering his shop, to which the police chief replied that because the products were in plain sight, a warrant wasn’t needed. Police hostility made the legality of delta 8 in the state even more confusing, but the laws seem to be clear.
So, is delta 8 legal in South Carolina? Yes, but with the full force of the Attorney General’s unfavorable opinion regarding the compound, its future in the Palmetto State is somewhat uncertain.
Shipping Delta 8 Products to & from South Carolina
Online retailers and out-of-state manufacturers can ship delta 8 products to South Carolina as long as delta 8 remains legal to sell and possess. It is especially advantageous for residents of the state who want to score some high-quality cannabinoids without much hassle.
When available, buying delta 8 online is definitely your best bet for a number of reasons. The transparency of online stores is much greater than that of physical stores. If you shop online, you can examine third-party lab reports and ingredient lists at your leisure, which is not the case when buying products in person. Moreover, online retailers tend to have a much wider selection of products, which means you can browse all your options and find something that fits your lifestyle perfectly. Lastly, online stores tend to have more comprehensive customer satisfaction programs and excellent customer service in case you're not satisfied with your experience or have any questions.
Despite all that, buying delta 8 products in person in the Palmetto State is not impossible, especially if you know what to look for, but more on that later.
Delta 8 in South Carolina
In the same way that hemp-derived cannabinoid laws in South Carolina are reflective of federal outlook, marijuana remains a strictly illegal scheduled substance in the state.
Marijuana possession is considered a misdemeanor—a penalty less serious than a felony. A marijuana possession conviction in the Palmetto State is punishable by 30 days to 6 months in jail as well as a fine of up to $1,000, depending on the total amount. Subsequent offenses come with even harsher penalties; also considered a misdemeanor, a subsequent drug offense can result in up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If caught with over one ounce, the prosecutor may presume an intent to sell, which carries a much higher potential penalty than simple possession.
Delta 8 in the Palmetto State means more than just a good buzz. With serious punishments for recreational marijuana, delta 8 seems to be South Carolinians’ only outlet towards the many benefits of cannabis.
Things to Consider When Buying Delta 8 in South Carolina
Delta 8 is not regulated by the FDA, so companies are responsible for setting their own safety and quality standards, which is why you need to find a cannabinoid retailer you can fully trust. Here are a few things to look out for when picking a company to buy hemp-derived compounds from.
First and foremost, look for lab tests! Whenever you consume anything, knowing what you’re putting in your body is essential. You may be able to find a label or seller that claims their product contains safe and pure delta 8, but how can you be sure? Lab testing reveals not only the retailer’s commitment to safety, but also the product’s potency and purity. Besides checking for contamination, laboratories can also test for harmful additives, allowing you to feel secure that you’re consuming a safe product.
Bleach should be avoided at all costs. A pure and high-quality delta 8 distillate will never be completely transparent. It may be pinkish or amber in color, but it will never be completely clear. It is somewhat common for manufacturers to bleach their products in order to make them appear safer and purer, but they actually do the opposite. If you see a vape or oil that looks completely colorless, that’s a sign to shop elsewhere.
The type of hemp used in your products is also important to consider. Delta 8 products made from organic hemp grown right here in the USA will provide the best (and safest) results. While all delta 8 products must be derived from hemp in order to be legal, that’s not where the story ends. The hemp plant is known for its absorbent properties. This means that it can pick up nutrients and contaminants from the environment it’s grown in, which will end up in your product. Look for manufacturers that don’t use pesticides or carcinogens in the growing process.
South Carolina Cannabis Market Grows with Delta 8 & Medical Marijuana
The cannabis market in South Carolina has undoubtedly grown with the state's decision to follow in the federal government's suit and legalize hemp-derived compounds. That said, the state has not made much progress on the medical marijuana aspect, with a very limited and non-comprehensive plan for those looking to benefit from medical cannabis in the state.
South Carolina Medical Cannabis Laws
Although medical marijuana is not legal in South Carolina, low-THC, high-CBD oils have been legal in the state since Senate Bill 1035, otherwise known as Julian’s Law, was passed in 2014. These oils are legally permitted to carry up to 0.9% THC and can only be prescribed by licensed physicians for the treatment of severe cases of epilepsy.
In 2022, the South Carolina Senate passed a medical cannabis bill for the first time in history. Bill 3361, also known as the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, would create a well-regulated medical marijuana program targeted at seriously ill individuals. It would see licensed physicians recommend medical cannabis to their patients, which would be dispensed by therapeutic cannabis pharmacies.
Qualifying patients would need to have at least one approved medical condition and a written certification issued by a physician with whom they have an official patient-doctor relationship.
These conditions include:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- A neurological disease or disorder (such as epilepsy)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Chron’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- A condition causing a person to be homebound (such as persistent nausea)
- Terminal illness
- A chronic medical condition causing severe and persistent muscle spasms
- A chronical medical condition for which opioids could be prescribed based on standards of care*
*Special documentation is required for PTSD and opioid alternatives.
The bill also has some limitations, including:
- Smokable and raw cannabis would remain illegal.
- Growing cannabis would not be allowed by patients or physicians.
- Physicians must specify how much cannabis patients can obtain in each 14-day period.
- Patients may not drive or operate any vehicles or undertake any other tasks that would be negligent or entail professional malpractice while under the influence of cannabis.
- Cardholders and medical cannabis establishments would be subjected to revoking of ID cards and, when applicable face civil/criminal penalties.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, however, the bill was defeated in the House, delaying relief for qualifying patients in the state for at least another year.
South Carolina Medical Cannabis vs. Delta 8
Although South Carolina’s medical cannabis program did not pass and is therefore not currently a reality, there is still hope for medical cannabis patients in the following years. The Senate passing the law was, after all, a historic event, and it’s only a matter of time before the House hops on the bandwagon.
For now, however, those who would’ve benefitted from the state’s Compassionate Care Act can find solace in the next best thing: safe and legal delta 8 products. Because delta 8 is just a milder analog of delta 9, the compound provides virtually identical effects, albeit to a lesser extent. This means that medical cannabis patients can still greatly benefit from cannabis even without South Carolina’s medical marijuana program.
Where to Find Delta 8 in South Carolina
After our delta 8 South Carolina crash course, we bet you’re itching to get your hands on some sweet delta 8. And now that you’re equipped with the proper tools to sniff out good versus bad products, here’s a rundown of the best places to score hemp-derived cannabinoids in South Carolina’s major cities.
Charleston – The Cannabis Pharmacy – 5.0 Stars
A 24-hour one-stop-shop for all things hemp-derived, the Cannabis Pharmacy has glowing customer reviews, all of whom claim their products are safe, effective, and adequately priced. The store even includes free samples with some purchases!
Myrtle Beach – Coastal Green Wellness – 4.9 Stars
Coastal Green Wellness states that they are “South Carolina’s first CBD & Hemp Wellness Center. Where education is free, and products are always thoroughly lab tested.” They carry a wide selection of organically grown hemp ready to help anyone in need.
Greenville – CBD Pharmacy – 4.9 Stars
The CBD Pharmacy of Greenville provides a friendly atmosphere and a tremendously helpful staff. Their product selection is unmatched, and their service goes above and beyond. If their customers had to sum this place up in one word, it would probably be “amazing!”
Are All Hemp-Derived Cannabinoids Legal in South Carolina?
South Carolina allows the sale, purchase, possession, distribution, and use of hemp-derived cannabinoids as long as they comply with the federal Farm Bill's 0.3% THC cap and fall in line with the state's own HB 3449!
You already knew CBD was legal as it has no psychoactive properties, but South Carolina's cannabinoids legality extends well beyond that. In fact, all hemp-derived cannabinoids are legal in the Palmetto State, whether you want the energizing effects of delta 10 or the euphoric effects of HHC. The classic delta 9 is also legal in the state as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.
If you’re a little worried about finding some of the more obscure hemp-derived compounds in South Carolina, remember you can always buy them online and have them shipped straight to your door!
Is Delta 8 Legal in South Carolina: Final Thoughts
So, is delta 8 legal in South Carolina? Yes, delta 8 products—and all other hemp-derived cannabinoids, for that matter—are legal in the Palmetto State. Whether you’re into vapes, gummies, or oils you can find delta 8 products in-person and online in the state.
Be wary, however, of sketchy products that don’t seem to meet the adequate safety measures, such as providing transparent ingredient lists and accurate third-party lab tests. Also remember that the legal status of the compound may be subject to change, so stay on the lookout for upcoming legislation in the state.
For now, however, you’re free to purchase, possess, and enjoy delta 8 products and all their benefits. Stay safe and happy buzzing!