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SCDA began approving hemp licenses in 2017
A licensed hemp farmer in Dorchester County was arrested this week, the first arrest for violating provisions of the state's two-year-old hemp farming pilot program.
In a press release, SLED says it arrested John Trenton Pendarvis, 38, for unlawfully cultivating hemp in an unreported area in Dorchester County.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the agency that licenses hemp farmers, says it requested the investigation into Pendarvis, as hemp farmers are required to disclose the location and the acreage of their farms.
"SCDA is required to report to SLED and the SC Attorney General any violations of the hemp program that we believe are willful, which is what we did in this case," an SCDA statement read. "The decision to take action — and what action to take — lies with law enforcement."
The state issued a second round of permits this year after the program was initiated by the legislature in 2017. As of June, there have been 114 licenses issued to grow hemp in South Carolina.
"This incident hasn’t dampened SCDA’s enthusiasm about the Hemp Farming Program," SCDA wrote. "We have more than 100 permitted farmers this year, many of them getting ready to harvest their 2019 crops, and we’re committed to supporting this growing industry."
Pendarvis was booked at the Dorchester County Detention Center, according to SLED.