SC farmers can now apply to grow industrial hemp

SC farmers can now apply to grow industrial hemp

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Farmers in South Carolina are now able to apply to grow industrial hemp.

Thanks to the passing of H.3359 by the South Carolina General Assembly this year, the state's Department of Agriculture will allow up to 20 farmers to grow hemp in 2017.

Industrial hemp is grown as an agricultural crop to be used for rope, clothing, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation, and biofuel, among other things.

The number of permit holders could increase to 40 in 2018. Each applicant is also vetted by the Department of Agriculture, SLED, and the FBI.

The permits are to be given to South Carolina residents for the purposes of a pilot program. Each permittee is permitted to grow industrial hemp on up to twenty acres of land the first year and up to forty acres the second year and third year, and every year after, the Department of Agriculture, along with the institutions of higher learning, will evaluate the program to determine the amount of acreage permitted.

"The industrial hemp bill adds another opportunity for South Carolina farmers to increase crop diversity," said Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture in May. "SCDA is working closely with allied agencies and interested parties to ensure timely implementation of the law."

Industrial hemp is defined as "the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dried weight basis," according to the final bill passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor in May.

"Anything above that [.3 percent THC concentration] is considered marijuana and is illegal in the state," SCDA says.

You can read the full bill here.

The application process includes a $50 non-refundable fee. If you are approved for a permit, there is a $400 permit fee.

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