Drivers in South Carolina should know that cannabis and paraphernalia possession is still illegal under state law. State legislators have tried and failed to pass medical cannabis laws, and it doesn’t look like legalization will hit the Palmetto State anytime soon. Possession of cannabis or paraphernalia is a severe offense in South Carolina, and so is a cannabis DUI. This article will cover where the state law stands now if you are charged with possession of cannabis or a cannabis DUI.
Cannabis Possession in South Carolina
Possession of any cannabis is illegal in South Carolina and includes cannabis flower, edibles, tinctures, hash, concentrates, dabs, and oil vapes. Possession of any cannabis product that contains over 0.3% THC has serious consequences under the law.
If you’re found in possession of less than one ounce of cannabis flower or less than 10 grams of concentrate in South Carolina, you could be facing a misdemeanor, 30 days in jail, and a fine of $200. The penalties increase drastically with subsequent charges or larger amounts of cannabis product. Information courtesy of the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
South Carolina considers the possession of more than an ounce of cannabis or 10 grams of hash or concentrate as a felonious sale or trafficking. Jail time can range from the mandatory minimum of a year to 25 years, depending on the amount in possession and the number of previous offenses. Fines can range from $5,000 for less than 10 pounds to $200,000 if you drive a truckload of more than 10,000 pounds of cannabis.
Furthermore, the sale of cannabis to a minor or within a half-mile radius of a school, playground, or public park is a felony. The punishment for sale to a minor is up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Needless to say, in a state that’s so unfriendly towards cannabis, it’s important to be informed so that you can keep yourself safe.
Drug Paraphernalia Laws in South Carolina
It’s not just cannabis possession that South Carolina drivers should be aware of. It’s paraphernalia too. Under state law, paraphernalia includes any device “used, designed for use, or intended for use” in consuming cannabis in any way. The law explicitly names many types of paraphernalia, including pipes, bongs, roach clips, and chillums. Possession of paraphernalia is a civil offense in South Carolina, punishable by a fine of up to $500.
What Happens if You Get a Cannabis DUI in South Carolina?
As you’ve probably guessed based on South Carolina’s cannabis laws as a whole, the penalties for a cannabis DUI are even stricter.
South Carolina doesn’t go easy on cannabis-induced impairment behind the wheel, no matter who you are. According to South Carolina laws, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of any substance that causes “impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired.”
The penalties for drugged driving in South Carolina are severe. After the first offense, you could find yourself saddled with a fine of $400, 48 hours of jail time, 48 hours of community service, and obligatory attendance to an alcohol and drug safety action program. You’ll also find yourself facing fees, court dates, and potentially even insurance issues. The penalties for driving under the influence in South Carolina increase with subsequent offenses as well.
Because it is so difficult to measure cannabis intoxication, people who use cannabis in South Carolina need to be especially careful when it comes to driving. Even if you were not intoxicated at the time, a drug test that comes back as THC positive after a traffic stop could lead to a DUI conviction. These stringent laws and harsh penalties make it even more important for cannabis users to have a plan in place for dealing with potential legal issues.
How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in South Carolina
It’s not just possession and paraphernalia that have severe consequences — a cannabis DUI arrest or cannabis DUI charge in South Carolina is a serious offense. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is crucial to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan.
Cannabis consumers must understand their rights as drivers. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI or other cannabis charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.