Road To Legalization: Is Weed Legal In North Carolina?

The laws in the state are not yet in favor of the recreational or medicinal use of cannabis. But the doors are not completely closed yet.

The current state of North Carolina’s weed laws can be confusing for residents and visitors alike. However, whatever way you look at it, all signs point to no. 

 Officially, cannabis is still illegal in North Carolina. That said, the state has partially decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis and some specific cases for medical cannabis.

Current Status Of Marijuana In North Carolina

Cannabis is illegal under North Carolina law, and violations are treated pretty seriously. 

 Possession of one-half to one-and-a-half ounces is a misdemeanor in the state, punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Since it’s only a misdemeanor, first-time offenders with clean criminal records may be eligible for a drug detour program to keep them out of jail. 

However, that possibility ends with any possession of more than 1.5 ounces, as it’s no longer a misdemeanor. In fact, possession of more than 1.5 ounces and less than 10 pounds is a felony. It carries a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to 8 months.   

The sale and delivery of marijuana is also a felony offense. At its extreme, 10 pounds is punishable by up to 18.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. 

Cultivation of cannabis is also a felony offense and is punishable in extremes by up to 18.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.

The only leisure for marijuana is when small amounts of cannabis are involved. Possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis has been decriminalized in the state. 

You will not be arrested or jailed if caught with less than 0.5 ounces of cannabis in North Carolina. Instead, you will be fined $200.

 

Recreational Vs. Medical Use

North Carolina has not legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes. That doesn’t mean there aren’t circumstances where medical cannabis can be obtained, but they are quite limited and have many hurdles.

Patients with unmanageable epilepsy can possess hemp extracts containing more than 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC. This is because CBD has been shown to have many therapeutic benefits, especially for those with epilepsy. 

While possessing certain hemp extracts with medicinal properties may be allowed in North Carolina, their sale, like all cannabis, is strictly prohibited. 

This means if you’re one of the few that qualify to possess medical cannabis, you must go to a state where the sale of medical cannabis is legal to purchase and where sales to out-of-state patients are allowed. 

Marijuana Legalization In North Carolina

Because even the medical requirements for obtaining a medical permit are so restrictive, any form of cannabis, even medical cannabis, is considered illegal in North Carolina.

The heavy penalties for even accidental overindulgence deter patients in need from purchasing cannabis products for their alignments. 

So yes, it is illegal to use cannabis in North Carolina, but polls show that most voters support legalizing the substance. 

Many people believe it’s necessary to have legislation to legalize and regulate the use, possession, and retail sale of adult-use cannabis in North Carolina, as many other states, have accomplished and benefited from.

Currently, two bills in the pipeline could be a breakthrough in cannabis legislation. One is Senate Bill 765, which would allow adults to possess up to two ounces of cannabis or an equivalent amount of cannabis products and grow up to two mature and two immature cannabis plants for personal use. 

And then, there is Senate Bill 711, also known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which seeks to legalize medicinal cannabis in the state. 

If progress is made on these bills, this would be a major step forward in the legalization of cannabis in the state, both for medicinal and recreational use. It’s a long road, but the doors are not yet closed.

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