possession of marijuana 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 for a chart providing the details of North Carolina Marijuana Laws.

NC Cannabis and Marijuana Laws

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NC Marijuana Laws

Most states in the Union allow medical or recreational use of cannabis, and many allow both. However, that is not the case in the Tarheel State. There is a limited medical marijuana law, but that’s it. Legislators periodically introduce bills on this issue, and some bear watching. But for most purposes, marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina.

Cannabis Possession Laws

Fortunately, North Carolina has partially decriminalized marijuana possession of half an ounce or less. This offense is a non-jailable misdemeanor, which could mean a fine of up to $200.

That minor drug possession penalty is good news for people with a few joints, but penalties quickly accelerate. Possession of half an ounce to an ounce and a half is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 45 days and a fine of up to $1,000. In other words, if police catch you smoking a joint, it’s probably a fine. If they find your stash, you could be facing jail time.

Next, possession of more than one and a half ounces but less than ten pounds is a Class I felony, which carries a maximum sentence of twelve months. Furthermore, the sale of 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a Class I felony. Cultivation of under ten pounds is also a Class I felony.

How Does NC Handle Medicinal Marijuana?

Keep in mind, medical cannabis is available in some cases. Patients with intractable epilepsy may possess and use hemp extracts which have less than 0.9 percent THC and at least five percent CBD. THC produces the “high” commonly associated with marijuana consumption, and CBD has some medicinal properties.

It is illegal to sell medicinal marijuana in this state. So, qualified patients must buy it in a state which allows out-of-state patients. Because this medical requirement is so restrictive, North Carolina isn’t considered to have legalized medical cannabis.

Consult With a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for marijuana possession, contact the experienced Raleigh drug crime lawyers at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, Attorneys at Law, today. Fill out the form to the right or call us at (919) 887-8040.

Find out about the current state of NC cannabis and marijuana laws, and contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a FREE consultation today! ]]>