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South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program

Background

The new Farm Bill passed in December of 2018 removed hemp from the Controlled Substance List creating a path for banking, insurance, and expanded marketing opportunities. The US Department of Agriculture issued its interim rule on October 31, 2019. The information about the final rule can be found here https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/hemp.

The new federal guidelines are more restrictive than what South Carolina growers had operated under for 2018 and 2019. Some things that are points of interest include Total THC not to exceed 0.30%, 15-day testing window prior to harvest, and SCDA sampling of specific plant parts for total THC. The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) received approval for the new state hemp plan the first part of April 2020. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/SouthCarolinaHempStatePlan.pdf

The application deadline for 2020 grower permits was March 31, 2020, over 350 farmers applied. Applications for handler and processor licenses are still available on the SCDA website.

More information and contact information can be found on the SCDA Industrial Hemp Program webpage. Clemson Extension is working with growers of varying levels of experience as this new industry develops. Clemson Extension serves hemp growers by sharing information, providing in-field consultations, and diagnosing plant and pest problems using the Plant Problem Clinic and Ag Service Lab. Clemson University researchers are conducting field trials on Clemson Research Centers around the state.

South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program Background The new Farm Bill passed in December of 2018 removed hemp from the Controlled Substance List creating a path for banking, insurance, and

Hemp Handler Application

Applying for a 2020 South Carolina Hemp Handler Permit

Download the 2020 SC Hemp Handler Application Here [PDF]

There are several categories of Permitted Hemp Handler:
  • Warehouse/Storage/Drying Facility
  • Transporter
  • Laboratory
  • Seed Dealer/Supplier
  • Other (Broker, R&D, Sales Rep)
Information about the 2020 Hemp Handler Permit Application:
  • The South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) is administering the South Carolina Hemp Farming Program as authorized by SC Code Ann. 46-55-10 et seq.
  • Anyone handling hemp in the State of South Carolina must successfully complete the full application process with the SCDA and be issued a Hemp Handler Permit prior to handling and or taking possession of any in-program harvested hemp materials (biomass) or any other sort of hemp plant material. Farmers who are growing hemp must apply for a Hemp Farming Permit. Handlers or service providers (storage facilities, couriers, etc.) who are not growing, or processing must complete the Hemp Handler Permit Application. Processors must apply for a Hemp Processor Permit.
  • A Handler Permit will not be issued to Retail Operation (including online sales) or Retail Stores.
  • A Handler Permit will not allow the Permit Holder to cultivate, farm, or process. If you wish to grow hemp you will need to obtain a separate Hemp Farmer Permit. If you wish to process hemp material, you will need to obtain a separate Hemp Processor Permit. If you possess a Hemp Farming Permit or a Hemp Processor Permit, you do not need a Hemp Handler Permit because the two permits allow you to handle hemp. You only need to obtain a Hemp Handler Permit if you are handling, but not processing.
  • Failure to comply with state regulation may result in appropriate action, including expulsion from the program and the destruction of hemp materials. Handlers only purchase hemp from South Carolina Permit Holders or individuals licensed or permitted by another State or Indian Tribe.
  • Changes for 2020 Season:
    • Federal law now requires that all states have a testing protocol to measure delta-9 THC post-decarboxylation – this means total THC must be not more than 0.3 percent.
    • Federal law will no longer allow SC to have a remediation safeguard. Now hemp total THC must test at or below 0.3 percent (after accounting for the measurement of uncertainty, which is likely less than a 0.099% variance) or be subject to destruction.
    • In accordance with federal law, cultivating, handling, or processing hemp with a total THC level greater than 0.5% will constitute a “negligent violation” of the Hemp Farming Program. If a Permitted Processor has three negligent violations in 5 years, he or she will face permit suspension for five years.
Key Information:
  • Background checks are required for all applicants.
  • Applicant must be an individual. SCDA does not issue Handler Permits to business entities.
  • This Hemp Handler Permit Application Packet is designed to provide sufficient instructions for completion by any individual who would be prepared to participate in the Hemp Farming Program. The application packets include a broad understanding of the program, but applicants should read the South Carolina Hemp Farming Act S.C. Code Ann. § 46-55-10 et seq. (which may be accessed here), and the USDA Interim Final Rule (which sets forth the national hemp regulatory scheme, and which may be accessed here)
  • Please make sure to fully review all application materials and regulations prior to contacting hemp staff with questions. SCDA is not in a position to offer direct consultation on completing a permit application or to educate individuals about the production of hemp.
  • All costs associated with the Hemp Farming Program are the responsibility of the permit holder, including both profits and loss. There are no sources of funding from SCDA to cover any aspect of the Hemp Farming Program. Potential applicants should understand that at the present time it is possible that they may suffer a loss on their hemp operation. Limited production knowledge combined with an uncertain federal regulatory environment, recent changes to the sampling and testing protocol as required by the USDA that will make compliance more difficult and unstable pricing creates significant risk for the participant. The focus of this program is the collection of research data and learning through experience.
  • Application Deadline: New Handler Permit Applications will now be accepted year-round. Permits issued will be subject to the annual renewal requirements which will be one year from date issued.

$100.00 Non- Refundable Application Fee per location

Hemp Handler Application Applying for a 2020 South Carolina Hemp Handler Permit Download the 2020 SC Hemp Handler Application Here [PDF] There are several categories of Permitted Hemp