Farmers in South Carolina will be allowed to cultivate legal industrial hemp, which is defined federally as cannabis with a THC level below 0.3 per cent. Licensing to grow the crop mandates that growers must submit to a background check, among other requirements. Initially only 20 licenses will be issued the first year for 20 acres each. Applications will be accepted from July but it is unclear whether farmers will have enough time to grow this season.
The second year of cultivation 50 licenses will be issued for 50 acres each. After that, the number and size of permits that will be issued will be decided on.
Hemp is often considered an environmental super fiber. Hemp fabric is made from the fibers in the herbaceous plant of the species cannabis sativa. It's a high-yield crop that produces significantly more fiber per acre than either cotton or flax.
South Carolina wants to breathe life into some of its abandoned textile mills and make textiles in mills again. Cheaper labor overseas, technology and automation, international trade agreements and other conditions consistent with modernization, wages, education and economic diversification led to the demise of the textile industry in South Carolina from the 1970s through the 2000s.