It’s hard to believe that Columbia is the last state in the South to legalize medicinal cannabis, which is ironic when you consider it’s such a bustling industry within the state of Florida, which is also in the south. As far as I know, it’s the only city in South Carolina, and the only one on the East coast, to have some type of cannabis industry. I think Columbia could be a great place for a marijuana farm, and I’m working to educate the public in this area.

Just like local farmers would never have considered growing hemp hundreds of years ago, the idea of growing hemp outside of the black market has never been a common practice. However, with the legal cannabis market rapidly growing, there is a new wave of farmers who are exploring the crop. This week, we were lucky enough to visit with a local farmer in Columbia, South Carolina that is not only growing the plant, but has big plans for the future.

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C.. (WCIV) – Big changes may be on the horizon for the industry in South Carolina, which is still in its infancy.

Hemp growers are excited about what the potential legalization of marijuana could mean for businesses and consumers.

The cannabis industry began to grow in South Carolina in 2017. After just a few years on the ground, it may now be able to expand after former Congressman Joe Cunningham announced his intention to legalize marijuana use if he is elected governor in 2022.

Cody Kallarman, owner and founder of Zitro Farms, is a veteran who has experienced firsthand the effects of cannabis on physical and mental injuries.

I’ve lost three friends in battle and eight a month ago to suicide, PTSD and all that comes with it, Callarman said.

As a former Marine, Kallarman is no stranger to loss. It is what he has acquired with his business that allows him to continue his friend’s legacy. It also prompted him to start growing cannabis flowers two years ago.

Like most veterans, I dealt with alcohol, Kallarman says. I first tried cannabis four or five years ago and it was a real discovery for me: Wow, why is this plant illegal and alcohol not?

After living in California, where marijuana is legal for recreational use, Kallarman took the opportunity to return to his home state.

We’re still in such an early stage that I decided that knowing what I know about California and how it’s set up, I could really step in and try to create that industry here, he said.

In order to compete on the national stage, we absolutely must legalize cannabis in our state before it is introduced at the federal level, Kallarman said.

Mr Callarman feels that this should be done sooner rather than later.

If we wait until it’s legal at the federal level and then open the floodgates, we’ll get a lot of outside investment, a lot of money from other states, he said.

This is a potential boom for the industry, but it needs to be properly regulated, Kallarman said.

I think for things to be fair and for the customer, especially the customer, to feel comfortable with the product, we need to have some kind of system to know where it’s coming from, he said.

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