Marijuana Laws in South Carolina
The laws regarding the possession and use of marijuana are constantly changing in the different states across the country. With many states accepting the personal use of marijuana as legal—or at least the use of medical marijuana—it can be difficult to understand the laws with which you must comply in your state. The following is a brief overview of the laws regarding marijuana in South Carolina.
First and foremost, South Carolina has not legalized personal use of marijuana. Laws that would begin a medical marijuana program are still in the legislature and are not yet in force. Criminal charges can stem from marijuana in and around Columbia.
Possession of Marijuana
If you are accused of possessing as much as one ounce of marijuana, you can face as many as 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $200, or both. These penalties, however, increase if you have prior convictions. For instance, a second conviction for marijuana possession can bring as much as one year behind bars and a maximum $1,000 fine. Furthermore, you can face these higher penalties for a first conviction if you purchase any marijuana near a public park or school. Penalties can be higher for possessing larger amounts of marijuana.
Distribution of Marijuana
If you are arrested for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute it to others, you can face more serious charges. For larger amounts of drugs, you may face charges of drug trafficking. The maximum penalties for these charges largely depend on the amount of drugs allegedly involved, as follows:
- Ten pounds or less - Five years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine
- Ten to 100 pounds - Ten years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine
- 100 to 2,000 pounds - 25 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine
- 2,000 to 10,000 pounds - 25 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine
- More than 10,000 pounds - 25 years in prison and/or a $200,000 fine
Distributing marijuana near a school or park can result in 10 additional years and an added $10,000 fine. The state can apply the same additional penalties for any sale of marijuana to a minor—no matter where the sale took place.
Even if marijuana is becoming more accepted in other states, and it may seem minor compared to other hard drugs, South Carolina law still treats marijuana as a highly dangerous controlled substance and aims to punish people suspected of possession or distribution accordingly.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Columbia Criminal Defense Attorney
At the Law Offices of Lori S. Murray, our criminal defense lawyer handles all types of drug-related charges in the Columbia area. If you were charged with drug possession or distribution, you need qualified representation. Please contact us online or call us at (803) 779-4472 to learn how Lori Murray can assist you.