South Carolina governor signs measure to increase penalties for fentanyl



(The Center Square) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a measure adding “fentanyl-related substances” to the list of Schedule 1 drugs and increasing the penalties for anyone who pushes the illicit drug.

Under H.3503, first offenders are subject to up to five years in prison, increasing to 10 years for the second offense and 15 years for the third.

Additionally, anyone convicted of trafficking between four and 14 grams of fentanyl faces up to 25 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. Subsequent offenses carry a mandatory sentence of at least 25 years and a $100,000 fine.

“Through this legislation, we provide our law enforcement and prosecutors with valuable tools to keep these drug dealers behind bars, helping to combat the unprecedented flood of fentanyl crossing the Southern border and entering our communities,” McMaster, a Republican, said in an announcement.

The penalties increase for anyone convicted of trafficking more than 14 grams — at least 25 years in prison and a $200,000 fine — and for more than 28 grams — up to 40 years in prison and a $200,000 fine.

“This legislation ensures that the traffickers who are peddling this poison in South Carolina are subject to serious prison sentences, including mandatory minimums,” South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said in an announcement. “I hope this legislation serves as a deterrent to anyone who seeks to profit from this deadly drug. We must do everything we can to reduce supply and save lives.”

According to a fiscal estimate from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, it is unclear what the new penalties might cost the state or how much additional revenue it might collect. The measure could increase local revenue from fines.



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