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Lawmakers Mull Marijuana Legalization

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UPDATE: As of August 2020, Senate Bill 58, which increases the amount of marijuana someone can legally carry for personal use and expunges records of those with certain marijuana convictions, is stalled. The bill was introduced on February 14, 2019 with one writer and eight co-sponsors, but since that point, no forward movement has occurred.

In February 2019, Senator Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) reintroduced a measure in the State Senate which would allow people to possess up to three ounces of cannabis legal for their own personal use. Last year’s version, which lawmakers did not approve, would have allowed up to four ounces. Nevertheless, this latest bill would significantly alter the legal landscape for Raleigh drug possession attorneys.

What is Senate Bill 58?

This measure is something of a compromise. SB 58 enhances the charges for possession of more than three ounces to a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum 120-day jail sentence and a discretionary fine. Furthermore, the bill increases the weight of cannabis a person can carry from 1.5 ounces to one pound before it is considered a Class 1 felony. A conviction on this count could result in imprisonment for up to five months.

Currently, possession of up to 1.5 ounces is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 20-day jail sentence and a fine of no more than $200. Possession of 1.5 to 16 ounces is a Class 1 felony offense.

SB 58 is a significant departure from current North Carolina law. The Tarheel State has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. Recreational marijuana is completely illegal, and medical marijuana is only available to patients with epilepsey. Even then, these patients must use a special grade of marijuana with a low THC and high CBD content.

Would SB 58 Help Individuals Who Have Marijuana Possession Convictions on Their Records?

Maybe. If the prior conviction was for simple possession under three ounces and there were no aggravating circumstances, SB 58 authorizes a Raleigh drug possession attorney to file an expungement petition with the court that handed down the conviction. If the District Attorney and probation officer agree to the petition, or at least do not contest it, the judge will probably grant it.

Many people with marijuana and other convictions experience hardship when looking for a good job, obtaining student aid, finding a good place to live, and in other situations.

Lawmakers may yet relax the marijuana laws in North Carolina. For a free consultation with an experienced Raleigh drug possession attorney, contact Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, Attorneys at Law. Fill out the form below or call us at (919) 887-8040.

A new Senate bill allows possession of up to three ounces of marijuana. If you need help with a current case, call our Raleigh drug possession attorneys.

These states are voting on marijuana legalization in 2020

by: Nexstar Media Wire

Posted: Oct 14, 2020 / 11:55 AM EDT / Updated: Oct 14, 2020 / 11:55 AM EDT

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As voters head to the polls to select the next president, residents of five states will decide whether to legalize medical or recreational marijuana.

Right now, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis, according to CNN. 11 of those states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

In 2016, pot measures passed in eight out of nine states where it was on the ballot.

Here’s a look at the states where voters will decide the future of pot:

Arizona

A proposition on the ballot would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults who are 21 or older. People would be permitted to grow six marijuana plants at their home as long as the plants aren’t in public view.

The Arizona Department of Health Services would be responsible for regulating marijuana facilities and stores.

Four years ago, voters narrowly rejected a measure to legalize recreational marijuana.

Mississippi

There are two measures on the ballot in Mississippi that aim to legalize pot for medical purposes.

Initiative 65 would make medical marijuana available for people with very specific qualifying conditions, according to WJTV. Patients could possess up to 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana at one time. The initiative also sets a state tax rate.

Initiative 65A does not specify qualifying conditions or possession limits. Regulations would need to be set by state lawmakers.

Montana

The state will see two marijuana initiatives on the November ballot.

CI-118 or “Allow for a Legal Age for Marijuana Amendment” would make 21 the legal age to purchase cannabis for recreational use.

Ballot issue 190 would largely accomplish the same thing with additional regulations. According to Ballotpedia, the measure would legalize the possession and use of one ounce or less or 8 grams or less of marijuana concentrate by people at least 21. It also puts a 20% tax on legalized marijuana that would flow into the state’s general fund.

New Jersey

Question No. 1 on the ballot would make pot legal for adults 21 and older. Medical marijuana is already legal in New Jersey, and the group that oversees the regulation of medicinal cannabis would also regulate recreational pot.

The constitutional amendment would take effect on January 1 and would make Jersey the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize marijuana, according to Ballotpedia.

Because of the economic impact expected to be brought in by residents of neighboring states, it’s believed passage in New Jersey could put pressure on other states in the region to pass similar measures.

South Dakota

The state will be voting on both medicinal and recreational marijuana during the general election.

Amendment A would legalize recreational cannabis for anyone 21 or older, according to KELO-TV. The measure would also require state lawmakers to pass laws that create a medical marijuana program by early 2022.

Measure 26 would only allow for the sale of medical marijuana to people with “debilitating medical conditions.” Patients cleared for the program could possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana and grow plants in their homes.

BDS Analytics, a industry intelligence firm, reports the marijuana business in the United States could top $30 billion before the next presidential election.

As voters head to the polls to select the next U.S. president, residents of five states will decide in November whether to legalize medical or recreational marijuana. ]]>