Recreational marijuana use in South Carolina can lead to trouble

Marijuana is one of the more common drugs for some college students. For those in South Carolina, using marijuana for recreational purposes can lead to criminal charges. This state has opted not to pass laws decriminalizing the drug, despite many other states opting to.

Understanding some of the laws governing the drug might help those who are tempted to use it, as well as those who are currently facing criminal charges. The exact penalties you can face depend on the circumstances of the drug charges.

Marijuana trafficking

This is the most serious charge that you can face for this drug. The weight of the drug or the number of plants determine the possible penalties. Here are a few of the details:

  • 10 to 100 pounds:
    • First offense: 1 to 10 years, $10,000
    • Second offense: 5 to 20 years, $15,000
    • Future offenses: Mandatory minimum 25 years, $25,000
  • 100 to 2,000 pounds or 100 to 1,000 plants: Mandatory minimum 25 years, $25,000
  • 2,000 to 10,000 pounds or 1,000 to 10,000 plants: Mandatory minimum 25 years, $50,000
  • More than 10,000 pounds or 10,000 plants: 25 to 30 years, $200,000

Selling marijuana

It is illegal to sell marijuana in South Carolina. The penalties are the same, no matter the amount.

  • First offense: Up to 5 years, $5,000, felony
  • Second offense: Up to 10 years, $10,000, felony
  • Third offense: 5 to 20 years, $20,000, felony

There is a provision in the law that sets a specific penalty for selling to a minor. This is a misdemeanor charge that can lead to up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Possession of marijuana

Just having marijuana in your possession can lead to criminal charges. These charges are typically handled as misdemeanors, as long as you have under one ounce in your possession. If you have more than once ounce, there might be a prima facie guilty of sale, which means you could face a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

A first misdemeanor possession charge can mean up to six months in prison and fine of up to $1,000. Subsequent offenses have double the possible penalties of the first offense.

Some possession charges under one ounce lead to 30 days in jail and a fine of $100 to $200. Subsequent offenses can mean one year of incarceration and $200 to $1,000 in fines.

A conviction on one of these charges is a mark on your criminal record. Think about this before you opt to pursue any specific defense option.

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