Licensing Hemp Growers

S.559 would require any person desiring to grow hemp in South Carolina apply for and receive a license from the Division of Regulatory and Public Service Programs at the College of Agricultural Services at Clemson University. Licenses would be non-transferable and good for a period of 24 months, after which a grower must reapply. The minimum cost of a license would be $300 with an additional $50 charge per acre for all acres over 20 on which the applicant plans to grow hemp. For example, a proposed 100 acre grow site would come with a biennial license fee of $4,300. Current State law requires licensure of hemp growers, but does not designate an agency to provide licenses.

While eliminating licensure requirements for the industry would be preferable, this bill will at least help to provide legal clarity for growers and assure licensed growers they are not subject to prosecution for operating without a license.

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