Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
September 8, 2023

In this article, we will explore the current legal status of weed (marijuana) in South Carolina. We will cover the state’s laws and regulations related to both medical and recreational marijuana use. Additionally, we will discuss the penalties for marijuana possession and distribution, as well as any recent updates or proposed changes to the marijuana laws in South Carolina.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Marijuana Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina, like its neighboring state North Carolina, currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The state has a history of cannabis prohibition, but there have been ongoing discussions about medical marijuana legalization.

Medical Marijuana in South Carolina

South Carolina has not fully legalized medical marijuana, but the state did take a step towards providing limited access to medical cannabis. In 2014, the state passed the Compassionate Care Act, which allows for the use of CBD oil with low THC content (less than 0.9% THC) for patients with severe forms of epilepsy or other qualifying medical conditions. However, broader medical marijuana laws are yet to be enacted.

Qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana use include epilepsy, severe nausea, multiple sclerosis, and terminal illnesses. Patients seeking medical marijuana must go through a specific application process and get approval from a certified physician.

Recreational Marijuana in South Carolina

Weed South Carolina

As of the current state law, recreational marijuana remains illegal in South Carolina. Possession, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana for non-medical purposes are all subject to penalties. Possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is classified as “simple possession,” and individuals caught with small amounts could face misdemeanor charges, fines, and potential jail time.

Possession and Cultivation Laws

In South Carolina, personal possession of marijuana is limited to less than an ounce (28 grams). Possession of larger amounts may result in more severe penalties, especially for repeat offenders. The state’s hemp farming act allows for limited hemp cultivation, but marijuana cultivation remains prohibited for personal use.

Marijuana Distribution and Sale

The sale of marijuana for recreational use is illegal in South Carolina. Those caught selling marijuana without proper licensing or outside regulated channels could face significant legal consequences, including felony charges and lengthy prison sentences.

Law Enforcement and Prosecution

Law enforcement’s approach to marijuana-related offenses varies across different jurisdictions in South Carolina. Some areas may prioritize enforcement, while others may focus on more serious crimes. Non-violent marijuana offenders may be eligible for diversion or treatment programs instead of incarceration.

Public Health and Safety Concerns

As with any drug, marijuana use comes with potential health risks, and public health campaigns aim to educate South Carolinians about responsible use. Concerns about impaired driving are addressed through strict laws and law enforcement efforts to combat driving under the influence of marijuana.

Proposed Changes and Future Outlook

While South Carolina has not yet fully legalized medical or recreational marijuana, there have been discussions about reform. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups have pushed for changes to the state’s marijuana laws, but significant hurdles remain.


Understanding the current legal landscape of marijuana in South Carolina is crucial for residents and visitors alike. Whether for medical or recreational purposes, individuals should be aware of the legal implications and act responsibly in compliance with South Carolina’s marijuana regulations. As attitudes towards marijuana continue to evolve, it is essential to stay informed about the latest developments and potential changes in the state’s marijuana laws.