Joint Committee Discussing Legalizing Marijuana in SC


Clark Fouraker, WLTX

The discussion comes after the General Assembly last session passed a bill legalizing industrial hemp, which also has THC, the substances that makes marijuana illegal.

“We see fit, that albeit a little bit different, should ride together,” said Clint Leach with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. “South Carolina is very unique in the agricultural history we have. It’s different from other states so it’s very important for us to look at the advantages and disadvantages that South Carolina brings to the table before we implement any law.”

Lawmakers passed a bill legalizing industrial hemp last session and now have gathered a study committee to see if they should do the same with medical marijuana.

Industrial hemp is used by the textile industry to make products like clothing to soap.

Medical marijuana is different because it would be consumed by people.

“We have a role in the industrial hemp legislation and what we want to do with the other industries is figure out how we move this industry forward looking at what other states have done wether it be Colorado, or Kentucky, or Washington,” Leach said.

Wednesday, lawmakers expect to hear about a law dealing with marijuana that’s already on the books.

“The Marijuana and Controlled Substances Stamp Tax Act was passed in 1993,” said Bonnie Swingle with the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

Without a legal marijuana industry, the tax hasn’t earned the state very much. Since 1993, DOR has collected a little over $160,000 from the tax.

“(It) will help them determine wether they want to legalize it in the future, how much tax revenue they may get out of that,” Swingle said.