South Carolina has already issued 114 hemp growing licenses this year after removing a cap on the number of farmers permitted to operate.

There were just 20 licenses issued in 2018; initially, state law allowed for just 40 permits to be handed out in 2019. However, the state scrapped that and allowed any farmers that pass a background check to begin growing the crop.

In March 2019, Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law a bill that increased the number of farmers permitted to participate in the state’s growing program and the amount of hemp they are able to cultivate.

It allowed applicants that were unsuccessful in securing one of the 40 licenses originally up for grabs in 2019 to reapply. A total of 74 passed the necessary checks and they can now commence operations, bringing the total to 114 this year, according to figures from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. That represents a 565% increase on 2018.

“More hemp farmers means more opportunities to learn about hemp’s long-term potential for South Carolina agriculture – agribusiness is South Carolina’s largest industry, and we welcome the chance to push it in new directions,” said the state’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Hugh Weathers.

Multi-state hemp producer Hemp Inc. (OTC PINK: HEMP) has an 85,000 sq. ft. multipurpose industrial hemp processing facility in Spring Hope, North Carolina, and it sees great potential for its southern neighbour.

It claims the unique climate and favourable political landscape make it an ideal place for a hemp industry to thrive, and it is now hoping to make inroads there.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is forecasting a 1,200% increase in farmland dedicated to the crop this year, as the 113 growers have been given licenses that allow them to plant 3,300 acres of hemp.

At the end of 2018, the Farm Bill was signed into federal law, permitting the regulated production of hemp across the country. It has many uses, but the most lucrative is CBD extraction as the CBD wellness craze is sweeping America and the rest of the world.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture said it felt the state would be left behind by capping the number of producers, which seemed counterintuitive considering it is permitted under federal law.