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The Legal Status of Cannabis in North Carolina

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In North Carolina, cannabis is illegal for any use except very limited medical use. North Carolina is yet another one of 13 states that do not yet have a complete medical cannabis program.

Decriminalization: There was a wave of decriminalization which was short-lived but which had an effect on states like North Carolina. As a result of this wave, North Carolina decriminalized cannabis in 1977 and reduced the penalty for processing less than half an ounce (small amounts) to a maximum fine of $200.

Failed medical legalization: In May of 2014, a medical marijuana bill introduced to the House Committee but got killed in March 2015. In addition to this, the House Committee published an “unfavorable report” that effectively blocked the House from giving consideration to bills containing medical marijuana components in the preceding two years.  However, non-psychoactive marijuana has essentially been legalized, though from special seeds containing very specific minimal THC strains (mostly industrial hemp) with the licensing stipulating purchase from the state.

Legalization of CBD: HB766 was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory in 2015 following a house endorsement of 112-22 as well as a senate vote of 47-0. Thus bill allows for the use of CBD oil for those with intractable epilepsy. It however does not establish a clear infrastructure for potential clients to legally purchase the CBD oil in the state.

Charges: There are a couple of different factors that contribute to drug charges in North Carolina. The type of cannabis in your possession, how much of it, as well as if you intend to sell it or not all play a part in determining your level of punishment. Currently, cannabis is still listed as a Class 6 substance in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act which makes it illegal to knowingly use, possess, sell or cultivate.

Recent North Carolina Marijuana Law Updates

The Hope 4 Haley and Friends bill got proposed in 2014 to allow those suffering from seizures to be able to use marijuana extracts. This is the bill that later got signed into law as HB766, which permits those suffering from intractable epilepsy the use of hemp extract (CBD oil), with minimal psychoactive effects.

North Carolina legalized the growing of industrial hemp in 2016 by farmers, which is similar to cannabis without the psychoactive component, THC. Since then, a number of hemp pharmacies have been established around the Triangle area, which now serve individuals suffering from insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety and many more such conditions.

Even more recently, a push to completely legalize cannabis for medical use failed to receive the requisite committee vote and therefore did not get considered by the North Carolina legislature. Local lawmakers are still pushing for this to be the case, and we won’t be surprised if marijuana laws look different in North Carolina in a few years.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.