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Greenville Business Magazine

#YeahTHATAgenda: Reefer, Um, Hemp Madness; Lockheed's F-16 Sale to Bulgaria Back On; Big Tax Breaks for Development in Columbia; The Fate of BMW's EV Program; Danny McBride's Newest Charleston-set Comedy

Jul 29, 2019 10:38AM ● By Chris Haire
CBD shops, hemp sellers receive bad news from the S.C. Attorney General's Office: The budding CBD oil and hemp industry may be still be in its earliest days, but the potential economic growth in the sector is sure to make other agri-businesses green with envy.  

Bolder, Colo.-based BDS Analytics estimates CBD sales in the U.S. will reach $20 billion by 2025, while Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier Data says hemp sales will hit $2.6 billion by 2022, following the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp farming at the federal level.

Still, these are uncertain times for those involved in the CBD and hemp biz, as the rules and regulations regarding the products remain cloudy. For starters, the U.S. Agriculture Department says that although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, the final rules for the hemp industry will not be sussed out until the end of the year. Furthermore, the department urges would-be hemp barons to continue following previous rules.  

Meanwhile, the FDA has still not approved CBD oil as an additive for food or drinks designed for human or animal consumption, despite the widespread popularity of such products. However, the FDA has approved the use of hulled hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp seed protein powder in such products. 

Currently, there are an estimated dozen CDB shops in the Greenville area and eight in both the Charleston and Columbia metros -- and that's just counting the shops will CBD in their names, not the already established homeopathic/health food merchants and head shops. Needless to say, South Carolina hasn't seen such an economic wild west wave of this magnitude since the late, great era of the video poker industry. 

However, some clarification is taking place.

Most recently, the S.C. Attorney General's office has issued their opinion on the legality of certain hemp products, namely the dried hemp being sold at some CBD shops.

While dried hemp contains the psychoactive substance THC found in marijuana, the levels in hemp are not enough to get an individual high. But there's a problem: the AG's office says visually there is no way to determine if that jar of dried hemp leaves on the shelf is marijuana or the mostly powerless hemp, an issue of concern for cops.

Currently in South Carolina, only a select group of farmers can legally grow, handle, and process hemp. The AG notes that if anyone else has it in their possession -- seeds included -- such possession would in fact be "criminal." The state's top law enforcement office also notes that the courts would likely rule any hemp in the hands of non-licensed individuals to be contraband and subject to seizure. 

Needless to say, the opinion has rattled CBD shops and hemp sellers across the state, according to a Greenville News post by Conor Hughes. 

Greenville Business Magazine/Columbia Business Monthly/Charleston Business Magazine recently had a chance to talk with human resource attorney Reggie Belcher of Columbia's Turner Padget. He issued his own warning about CBD oil and workplace drug testing.

"People ought to be careful if they're subject to random drug testing for CBD oil ," Belcher says, "because, even though apparently you can buy CBD oil, if CBD oil results in a positive drug test, which it shouldn't theoretically, but if it does, then an employee could be disciplined or discharged for that."

The sudden popularity of CBD oil to treat a number of conditions -- from sleep disorders to anxiety to whatever a snake oil salesman can dream up -- is one of the reasons scientists are studying the chemical with increased enthusiasm.The CBD oil you can buy online or in stores is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and there are little to no guidelines for its use. 

Greenwood Genetic Center's Carrie Buchanan is currently testing a CBD gel called ZYNOO2, which is believed to have some beneficial effects on individuals suffering from the autism-like Fragile X syndrome. 

"That’s why this research is so important, so we can determine how to use it safely and what it is most effective for," Buchanan says. "I have quite a few families come in and they have seen benefits in CBD oil that they have purchased, but we don’t know the safety [of those products]." 

Bulgaria's prime minister vetoes deal for Greenville-built F-16s, parliament overturns him: The $1.7 billion deal between the nation of Bulgaria and the United States to buy eight Greenville-built F-16s from Lockheed Martin is back on after an intra-governmental skirmish. Last week, Bulgaria's prime minister vetoed the fighter jet deal, but it has since been overturned by parliament. 

Three other nations have agreed to buy new F-16s, Bahrain, Slovakia, and Morocco. Last year, Bahrain inked a deal for 16 F-16s, with Slovakia placing an order for 14 fighter jets, while earlier this year Morocco agreed to buy 25 new planes.

However, another possible F-16 purchase is on the horizon, one that carries with it a much higher price tag and potential for international trouble. According to the South China Morning Post, Taiwan intends to buy 66 F-16s, a move that is ruffling feathers in Beijing. 

Taiwan News reports that the U.S. Congress will soon be formerly notified of Taiwan's intent to purchase the 66 jets. In response, the Republic of China warned Taiwan that it might use the stealth fighter, the J-20, to retake the island nation, according to the Asia Times. 

Taiwan is currently in the process of modernizing its air force, according to The National Interest magazine. The foreign policy magazine notes that this modernization, along with the purchase of new F-16s and a revamping of other F-16 fighters, could potentially give Taiwan the ability to "contest" an air attack from China.

Formerly manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas, the F-16 program began its Greenville shift two years ago. In April, Lockheed representatives and South Carolina elected officials celebrated the unveiling of the new production line at the S.C. Technology and Aviation Center, with the first jets expected to roll off the lines in 2021.

$10 Million: Lima One Capital recently closed on three multifamily complexes that provide more than 350 units of affordable workforce housing. All three projects were completed in less than 30 days and closed in the same week in mid-July, with a total loan amount of more than $10 million. (Lima One Capital)

County, City Offering Big Tax Break to Lure Offices, Hotels, Housing, Stores (Free Times)

20-acre outdoor event space The Bend on the Ashley River is beginning to take shape (Charleston City Paper)

New developments underway at Southern Bleachery in Taylors (Greenville News)

Major Mt. Pleasant waterfront development gets initial approval but ‘no’ to taller building request (Post and Courier)

West Columbia pharmaceutical CEO Lou Hammond of Nephron Pharmaceuticals meets with Donald, Ivanka Trump at White House (WIS-TV)

Lowcountry Local First hopes to cultivate new businesses with entrepreneurship course (Charleston City Paper)

BMW’s potential EV program revival to be decided as Oliver Zipse nears new CEO post (TeslaRati)

Boeing drops out of massive Pentagon nuclear missile program, citing unfair competition (WaPo)

Rusty shipping container full of nuclear refuse leaks at Westinghouse fuel plant (The State)

The Business And Education Worlds Need To Come Together To Improve Schools (Greenville Business Magazine)

Columbia's first craft brewery Conquest Brewing Company to Close (Free Times)

Ground broken on Spartanburg's first Tropical Grille (GoUpstate)

Following Halloween's Success, Charleston's Film Industry Continues To Grow (Charleston Business Magazine)

New "Righteous Gemstones" trailer has the closest look yet at the televangelist comedy filmed in Charleston (Charleston City Paper)

Rock Hill’s ROC Emporium thrift store to close (Herald Online)

Behind the scenes at B93.7 Hawk and Tom morning show (Greenville News)

If no buyer emerges, longtime Greenwood business Hobby & Garden Center set to close (Index-Journal)
Hires & Honors

Columbia-based certified retirement counselor Michael Oana, of Michael Oana Retirement Planning Specialist, will be appearing on "Good Day Columbia" on Fox 57 on Wednesday, July 31 at 9 AM. (Michael Oana Retirement Planning Specialist)

Spartanburg's Milliken & Company has named Jeff Price executive vice president of operations, while Chad McAllister will succeed Price as president of the company's Performance & Protective Textiles division. (Milliken)

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care has honored Midlands Technical College's Respiratory Therapy program with the association's highest level of distinction, the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist Credentialing Success Award. CoARC is the accrediting agency for all respiratory care programs in the country. (Midlands Tech)

Top photo credit: D-Kuru [CC BY-SA 3.0 at (]