In 2014, the South Carolina Legislature passed, and then-Gov. Nikki Haley signed, a law to exempt a limited class of individuals with certain medical disorders from criminal penalties for using and possessing cannabidiol or any “manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of marijuana that contains 0.9% or less THC and more than 15% CBD.

The law also creates a statewide program to conduct clinical trials on the effectiveness of cannabidiol for severe epilepsy. However, these trials will only begin if and when the FDA approves them. Subsequently, the legislature enacted industrial hemp laws, which provided in-state access to products that have no more than 0.3% THC content.

What type of marijuana does the law apply to? The law exempts cannabidiol or any “manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation” of marijuana that contains 0.9% or less THC and more than 15% CBD from the definition of marijuana if a person has a certification from his or her doctor that he or she has a severe form of epilepsy that has not responded to traditional therapies. The law protects this limited class of patients and their parents/guardians or caretakers for the possession, use, and arguable manufacture and sale of marijuana that meets the cannabinoid content restrictions.

Who qualifies for this limited program? Patients diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, or “any other severe form of epilepsy that is not adequately treated by traditional medical therapies” if the patient’s physician concludes that the patient can benefit from medical cannabidiol use.

Can minors with seizure disorders use low-THC medical marijuana under this law? Yes.

Do qualifying patients need to obtain an ID card? No, there is not an ID card requirement.

Are there restrictions on who will manufacture the low-THC cannabis? The law is silent on who will produce the cannabidiol it allows certain patients to use. However, subsequent laws allowed for the production of industrial hemp in the state, but the THC limit is even lower at 0.3%.

When did this law take effect? It became effective when Gov. Haley signed the bill on June 2, 2014.