Hemp was once one of the crops grown in South Carolina and exported to the world. That changed, however, when enforcement of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively made possession or transfer of hemp illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, through imposition of an excise tax on all sales of hemp.
In 2018 thing changed again: Congress moved to legalize and encourage the growth of industrial hemp. Speaking last year before the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said, “At a time when farm income is down and growers are struggling, industrial hemp is a bright spot of agriculture’s future.”
South Carolina is one of the states where farmers are trying out hemp. On this week’s edition of Walter Edgar’s Journal, Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers and heritage-crop farmer Nat Bradford talk about the history of hemp, its potential as a profitable crop, and the measured approach the Palmetto State is taking in exploring that potential.
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