North Carolina Marijuana Laws
Updated September 2019
Despite recent efforts to improve marijuana policy in North Carolina, the state’s cannabis laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. Learn more about North Carolina marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in North Carolina
Prior to the waves of legalization and decriminalization in the United States over the last several years, North Carolina was one of the more lenient states when it came to penalties for marijuana possession.
Possession of 0.5 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class 3 misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Possession of 0.5 to 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 felony offense, punishable by 3 to 8 months imprisonment and a discretionary fine.
Crimes involving the sale, delivery, the intent to distribute, or cultivation are also felonies.
Medical Marijuana in North Carolina
There is currently no comprehensive medical marijuana policy in North Carolina.
North Carolina did sign a low-THC medical cannabis bill, House Bill 1220, into law on July 3, 2014. Like most other restrictive medical cannabis laws, it gives only intractable epilepsy patients access to the extracts. The bill further states that cannabis oil must contain less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The bill does not contain any provisions to produce or distribute cannabis oil within the state.
The state legislature has introduced multiple medical marijuana bills, none have gained significant traction or been signed into law. The most recent medical marijuana bill in North Carolina, House Bill 401, was introduced in March 2019, but it has yet to make it through committee.
CBD from Hemp Oil in North Carolina
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in North Carolina
Cultivating cannabis for personal or medical purposes is illegal in North Carolina. The state prosecutes cannabis cultivation as a felony, with even cultivation of small amounts leading to as much as 8 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
On October 30, 2015, a bill legalizing industrial hemp cultivation became law despite not receiving the signature of Governor Pat McCroy. Under Senate Bill 313, a new industrial hemp commission will manage the commercial growers and researchers of the statewide program.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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With more states legalizing the use of marijuana it can be hard to stay up to date on North Carolina marijuana laws. Click to learn more about marijuana laws in NC!
North Carolina Marijuana Laws
Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated July 15, 2020
Last updated 11/1/2019
The possession or sale of marijuana is typically charged as a much less-severe crime than for other illicit drugs in most states, including North Carolina. While the state does not offer exemptions for medical use, North Carolina marijuana laws have mostly decriminalized its possession, which carries a maximum $200 fine for possessing less than one-half ounce. In fact, it doesn’t become a felony charge unless the defendant is in possession of at least 1.5 ounces.
Efforts to Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use
In 2014, the Hope for Haley and Friends bill was proposed in North Carolina. The bill, named after a six-year-old girl who sufferedВ from seizures, proposed the use of marijuana extracts to help treat epileptic patients. This was signed into law in 2015 as HB766 and allows individuals with intractable epilepsy to use cannabidiol, or CBD (oil derived from a strain of marijuana without psychoactive effects) to treat seizures.
However, the use is so limited that many medical marijuana advocates do not think North Carolina can be counted amongst the states that authorize medical marijuana. They view the legislation as largely symbolic, but other scholars think that it could be viewed as the initial steps to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
There have been numerous efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use in North Carolina, but they have not been successful. In 2014, a medical marijuana bill was introduced, but it was killed by the House Committee in 2015. The House Committee even delivered an “unfavorable report” which prevented the House from considering bills consisting of medical marijuana elements for two consecutive years. The issue resurfaced again in 2017 with additional medical marijuana bills, but they were blocked by the General Assembly.
The basic provisions of North Carolina’s marijuana laws are listed below. See FindLaw’s Drug Charges section to learn more.
|Code Section||90-86, et seq.|
|Possession||Less than 0.5 oz: misdemeanor, $200 fine; 0.5 – 1.5 oz: 1-45 days in jail, $1,000 fine; 1.5 oz. – 10 lbs: felony, 3-8 mos. in jail, $1,000 fine.|
|Sale||Class I felony but not when under 5 g. for no consideration|
|Trafficking||10-50 lbs.: Class H felony, 25-30 mos. and/or $5000; 50-2000 lbs.: Class G felony, 35-42 mos. and/or $25,000; 2000-10,000 lbs.: Class F felony, 70-84 mos. and/or $50,000; Over 10,000 lbs.: Class D felony, 175-219 mos. and/or $200,000|
Note: State laws are constantly changing — contact a North Carolina drug crime attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
- North Carolina Law
- Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
North Carolina Marijuana Laws: Related Resources
Facing Cannabis Charges? A North Carolina Attorney Can Help
Marijuana laws are in a constant state of flux in the United States. Some states allow recreational use, while other only allow medicinal use. Still others ban the herb completely. Confused about your rights? You don’t need to be. You can learn about North Carolina’s marijuana laws by contacting a defense attorney with experience handling drug crimes.В
Visit FindLaw.com for a chart providing the details of North Carolina Marijuana Laws.