South Carolina to double hemp licensing in 2019 as farmer demand surges

South Carolina plans to double its hemp program for 2019, saying that overwhelming farmer demand is driving a need for more licenses even as the state’s first legal crops are just going in the ground.

The Palmetto State allowed just 20 hemp growing licenses for 20 acres each for 2018, the first year for a modern hemp crop in that state.

But now the South Carolina Department of Agriculture says it will grant 40 licenses for 40 acres each next year, The State newspaper reported.

The hemp expansion “will give us a greater opportunity to assess where and how this crop grows best in South Carolina,”  Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in a statement.

One of South Carolina’s early hemp producers, Janel Ralph, CEO of Palmetto Harmony CBD company, said the state needs to ramp up its hemp capacity. She pointed out that neighboring North Carolina has roughly 300 hemp growers and no acreage restrictions.

“We don’t want to get behind the curve of these other states that have no limitations,” Ralph said.