Marijuana laws are incredibly different from one state to another. The entire West coast has legalized the drug for recreational use. Large parts of the country have legalized it for medical use, assuming the patient meets certain requirements. Other states have decriminalized possession to be a simple fine.
In South Carolina, however, marijuana is still very much illegal and comes with stiff penalties. Being caught with any amount of the drug can mean anything from heavy fines to extensive incarceration.
After the arrest
Being arrested is a frightening experience, especially if it is your first offence. Being caught with virtually any amount of marijuana in South Carolina, even less than one ounce, can mean a $200 fine and 30 days of jail time. Subsequent offenses are even harsher. You can expect up to $2000 in fines and up to a year of incarceration.
A possession conviction can impact nearly every aspect of your life, including job applications, background checks, college admission, and federal student aid. If you are arrested for possession of marijuana, call a skilled attorney immediately.
This is a time when a criminal defense lawyer can be absolutely critical. These attorneys specialize in aggressively fighting to lessen the consequences you may receive. A skilled lawyer can often have fines reduced, and jail time reduced or even eliminated.
Even when evidence appears to be stacked against you, there are often options a criminal defense attorney will know how to find and leverage. If marijuana was found in your car, the validity of the traffic stop may be questionable. The search of your vehicle may have been unlawful. These kinds of situations happen often; don’t suffer penalties because your rights were not recognized.
The future of marijuana in South Carolina
Marijuana possession arrests account for the majority of marijuana-related arrests in South Carolina. Some individuals, including Representative Mike Pitts, see this as a waste of the court’s time and resources. Not to mention the devastating impact it can have on the futures first time offenders. A movement was made to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana recently, though it did not receive a floor vote.
State Senator Tom Davis also recently sponsored a bill to legalize medical marijuana in our state. It also did not pass due to the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act failing to meet a deadline.
For now, marijuana continues to be an illegal drug to possess, and a conviction can mean fines and jail time. If you are arrested for its possession, be sure to keep yourself informed and protected.