This year the South Carolina Hemp Farming Act was signed, starting the possibility of a new industry in the state. However, things have not been smooth sailing for farmers, law enforcement, and lawmakers alike.
The first season the state already had 114 licensed hemp farmers. This was a learning year of all involved.
One of these farmers is Tony Ellison of Central, South Carolina. He usually grows vegetable, but is now experimenting with hemp.
“We only grew 3 acres this year,” Ellison told FOX Carolina, “This is our learning curve. We have learned what to do, what not to do. We’re getting educated through the state on how to send in our paperwork.”
Ellison’s goal is to take it slow and learn as he goes. He’s working with companies like Clearwater Biotech, to gather data on how the plants are growing to better adapt them to grow in the state.
Even with a small crop, there have been growing pains Ellison said, “We’ve lost plants to drought and to caterpillars. We’ve had some issues, but we’ve conquered every one.”
Instead of looking for a local way to sell his product, Ellison shipped his entire crop to Colorado. He trimmed the flowers to be directly sold as smokable hemp, and the rest of the biomass was sold to be extracted into CBD oil.
He said, “You don’t get high. This just makes you feel a little better. If you smoke the bud, the pain relief is pretty well instant versus the oil. If you take the oil and you take it over a period of time it gets in your system.”
Along with other farmers in the state, Ellison is hoping that the plant will be able to be successfully cultivated in the state to boost its agricultural economy. Farmers hope to use the knowledge gained this year to expand their operations and grow more of the crop.