Gov. McMaster signs new law to expand state’s hemp industry

VIDEO: Gov. McMaster signs new law to expand state’s hemp industry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - New changes are coming to South Carolina’s hemp program. Governor Henry McMaster signed a bill into law on Thursday that expands the state’s hemp program.

“Phenomenal news from the state with us being to grow and extend,” Charleston Hemp Company Owner David Builick said.

The newly signed law expands the numbers of growers that can participate in the state’s hemp program and the amount of acreage they can grow, a release for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture said.

The law previously allowed only 40 permits for up to 40 acres.

Last year there were 162 farmers that applied for the state’s 2019 industrial hemp program. Under the new law anyone who previously applied for a 2019 grower permit will be eligible to grow hemp in South Carolina as long as they pass a state and federal background check.

“Ag is going to have a great boom,” Builick said. “We can now go into the clothing industry, food industry, everything else.”

Farmers who are in the program can now grow an unlimited number of acres.

“Interest in hemp continues to grow each day and this expansion will help South Carolina become competitive throughout the entire country. Our farmers are very passionate about what they do and we stand ready to assist in growing the state’s hemp industry,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.

“New jobs, new industries, we’re taking farmers that were making hundreds or a thousand dollars per acre and now they’re going to make thousands of dollars on an annual basis,” Builick said.

Builick said it will boost the economy and he already has plans to expand his own farm.

“We’re set to do 40 acres yesterday and we’re set to 600 acres tomorrow,” Builick said. “We’re working fast getting those farmers all lined up on what our requirements are and new extraction machine coming in very soon. We’ll be able to do a thousand pounds an hour on extraction by mid-August.”

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