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Conway Criminal Law Blog

South Carolina’s marijuana laws are strict

Unlike some other states, South Carolina chooses to take a strict approach to the possession and sale of marijuana.

The recreational use of the drug remains illegal in this state. Even South Carolina’s medical marijuana statutes are not terribly lenient.

Penalties for marijuana add up quickly in this state. For a first-time offense, an accused person might be able to avoid a criminal conviction through a special court program.

Even if a conditional discharge is not an option, the maximum penalty is up to 30 days in jail and a fine between $100 and $200.

However, any additional offense, while still a misdemeanor, can land a person in jail for up to 1 year. A $2,000 fine is also possible.

The big catch is that these lighter penalties only apply if a person has less than 1 ounce of marijuana in their possession. If a person has more, prosecutors and police are free to press forward as if the person were selling the drug.

Practically speaking, this means a person can face a felony, even for a first-time offense, if they have more than 1 ounce of the drug. The lowest level of felony carries with it up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Harsher penalties might apply under other circumstances.

Many people who live in the Myrtle Beach area, as well as those who visit, might find themselves in legal trouble over marijuana. For example, party-goers and tourists could be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the police show up.

While sometimes the best course of action is to admit one’s mistakes and move on, there are many defenses to drug charges. The consequences of a conviction can be long-lasting and far-reaching, so it is best for an accused person to know all of their options.