Hemp: A new cash crop for South Carolina? - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Hemp: A new cash crop for South Carolina?

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The medical marijuana bill, which is currently in discussion in the state Senate, and a law that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp are two separate issues.

It's a distinction those who are for hemp are hoping to make clear.

Nicole Kennedy works for Palmetto Harmony, a company that produces CBD oils, which come from hemp. She said the crop could be the answer to farmers' prayers.

"Industrial hemp is a agricultural crop. You cannot get high from it; it's not like marijuana," Kennedy said. "There are currently 38 states that have an industrial hemp program intact." 

With more than 50,000 ways to cultivate it, hemp can be used to make oils, plastics, clothes and paper, and is over 10 times more durable than cotton.

"It also removes toxins from the soil. So it puts back in the nutrients that the farmers need to grow," Kennedy said.

South Carolina Sen. Kevin Johnson, who voted against the last medical marijuana bill in 2016, said the industrial hemp bill is something he could potentially get behind.

"I have not seen that bill, but if that's what it entails, that's probably something I would have no problem with," Johnson said.

Kennedy added that it's important to get a leg up on the issue, especially since surrounding states like North Carolina are already ahead. Still, some say the primary benefit is the success it could bring back to the farming community.

An educational seminar starts at 10 a.m., Saturday at the Marion Opera House, located at 100 NE Court St. It is open to the public.

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