A state Senate agriculture panel on Wednesday advanced a proposed experimental research program for farmers to begin growing industrial hemp.
Technically, growing the plant closely related to marijuana is legal in South Carolina under a 2014 law, but no state agencies are offering the required permits. Hemp contains much less THC than marijuana, which means it does not cause the same “high” sensation. It is used for a variety of products like clothing, paper, construction materials and even biofuel. American manufacturers and processors often use hemp, but it is usually imported from other countries. Hemp farming had been banned nationally for decades before Congress moved to ease regulations three years ago.
Senators in an agricultural subcommittee signaled their early support for a proposal that would have the state Department of Agriculture partner with Clemson University and the State Law Enforcement Division to create the “South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program.” The program would permit farmers to grow small amounts of the crop next year. [Read more…]