South Carolina: the land of pristine beaches, charming cobblestone streets, and strict marijuana laws. Wait, what? That’s right. Despite the nation’s increasingly liberal attitude towards the herb, weed is still not legal here.
While Extra Chill advocates for the full legalization of marijuana, we’re also realistic about the current state of things. If you’re visiting Charleston or any other part of the Palmetto State, a bit of caution goes a long way.
The Legal Status
Let’s be clear: Marijuana is illegal in South Carolina. Recent bills have flirted with forms of legalization & decriminalization, but as of my writing this nothing has passed yet. Possession of less than an ounce can land you a hefty fine or even jail time.
However, a fresh bill introduced in 2023, H. 3561, proposes significant changes. According to this bill, possession of 28 grams or less of marijuana or 10 grams or less of hashish would be decriminalized.
If the bill passes, you’d receive a civil citation instead of facing criminal charges for such small amounts. This proposal is still under review, so keep an eye on legislative updates.
So, if you’re visiting from a state where pot is legal, be careful when considering your stash. The law doesn’t care about your medical card from California or your recreational stash from Colorado. For now.
Local Police and Marijuana
Now for some good news. Generally speaking, local police have bigger fish to fry than someone discreetly smoking a joint.
That doesn’t mean they’ll turn a blind eye, though. In public places, a strong whiff of weed can quickly turn your relaxing vacation into a legal headache.
CBD and Delta-8: A Gray Area
CBD and Delta-8 THC are close relatives of the more infamous Delta-9 THC. Although they’re chemically similar, the law treats them differently, and many stores sell these products in plain sight.
In South Carolina, CBD from industrial hemp is legal, but Delta-8 remains in a legal gray zone (although it has recently been called illegal by police in Columbia, SC).
Law enforcement’s THC tests usually can’t differentiate between Delta-9 and Delta-8, so consuming these substances in public could lead to a run-in with the cops. Even if you’re within the law, it’s best to stay discreet and keep any lab results or certificates of authenticity handy.
Tips for Navigating the Scene
Don’t Smoke and Drive
The police may not be hunting down casual smokers, but DUI is a different ball game altogether. If you get pulled over and your car smells like a Grateful Dead concert, you’re going to have issues.
Being discreet is your best friend. The unwritten rule? Don’t let them see it; don’t let them smell it. Invest in an odor-proof bag or use a vaporizer that doesn’t give off that iconic scent.
Know Your Locations
Open fields, deserted beaches, and private residences are generally better choices than busy downtown streets or your hotel room. Stick to 420-friendly locations where locals partake.
A Community that Cares…but Cautiously
Charleston is a city full of life, art, history, and yes, a good number of stoners who manage to live, work, and get on without much hassle from the law. We don’t agree with the laws, but we respect the risks involved in partaking in something that can still get you arrested in this state.
Until South Carolina joins the growing list of states that have come to their senses regarding marijuana legalization, caution is the name of the game.
Extra Chill is, as always, 420-friendly and advocates for change. But until that day comes, make smart choices and keep the chill vibes going.
Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice and is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. I await the day when I can update this post to announce legalization, but until then — be careful, fellow potheads.