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north carolina recreational marijuana

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North Carolina

Is weed legal in North Carolina?

No. Both medical and adult-use marijuana are illegal in the state. CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight is allowed for patients with intractable epilepsy. It’s only legal to possess it in the state; patients and caregivers must obtain it outside state lines.

A first offense of possession of 0.5 ounce of cannabis or less or 0.2 ounce of hash or less is a Class C misdemeanor , which is punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Larger amounts and subsequent offenses may carry more severe penalties.

Legislative history

Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 1220 , the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act Act, into law in 2014. HB 1220 granted access to low-THC hemp extract to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

In July 2015, HB 1220 was amended by HB 766 , which increased the allowed amount of THC from 0.3% to 0.9% and decreased the required CBD amount from 10% to 5%. It also expanded the number of qualified physicians, increased the number of certified hospitals, and removed the requirement that patients be children.

Where is it safe to purchase?

North Carolina does not have a state-regulated supply chain or any other state-sponsored method of obtaining hemp oil extract. Caregivers must purchase hemp oil extract in a state that offers reciprocity.

Where is it safe to consume?

North Carolina has not placed limits or restrictions on patient consumption.

Cultivation

The DHHS forbids the cultivation of cannabis or the production of hemp oil extract for any reason within North Carolina.

Medical CBD program overview

North Carolina allows patients with intractable epilepsy and their caregivers to possess and consume CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight. The patients must be diagnosed by and have a written statement from a state-licensed, board certified neurologist who is affiliated with the neurology department of a state-licensed hospital.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for regulatory oversight of the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act program, and for enrolling registered patients and caregivers in the program. Patients must appoint a caregiver to obtain the extract. No registry card is required for patients. There is no minimum age for patients who can participate in the program, though caregivers must be at least 18 years old.

Caregiver requirements

Though the law no longer requires that patients be children, it specifies that only caregivers are allowed to possess CBD extract. Caregivers must be at least 18 years old and must be a permanent resident of North Carolina. Only a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a person with intractable epilepsy is eligible to be a registered caregiver.

Once all materials have been submitted, and the application has been processed, caregivers will receive a letter from the DHHS authorizing their approval. Caregivers must carry this letter with them when in possession of hemp extract within North Carolina. They must also carry or keep near the CBD extract a certificate of analysis for the extract that shows it meets the state’s standards.

Application process:

  1. Obtain a written statement from a state-licensed neurologist affiliated with a state-licensed hospital.
  2. Submit a valid North Carolina ID card or driver’s license to show proof of age and residency.
  3. Complete and submit a written caregiver’s application .

Testing

There is currently no lab testing required by the state.

FAQ

How long before medical marijuana is legal in North Carolina?

While we can’t predict the future, we do know that North Carolinans can’t petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot. Any path to legalize marijuana would have to go through the state legislature.

What would it take to make weed legal in NC?

Unlike other states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, North Carolina residents can’t petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot. Any path to legalize marijuana would have to go through the state legislature.

What agency in NC enforces marijuana laws?

Marijuana enforcement happens at the local level. City police officers or county sheriffs typically make marijuana arrests though state highway patrol officers (troopers) may also arrest people suspected of possession, consumption, or trafficking. After arrest, trials usually take place in local courts.

What are the laws on the cultivation of marijuana in North Carolina?

Marijuana is illegal in North Carolina so cultivation is also illegal. Farmers can grow hemp with less than 0.3% THC if they are licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

This page was last updated November 11, 2020.

View the cannabis & CBD laws & regulations for North Carolina.

North Carolina Marijuana Information

Quick FAQs

In North Carolina, both medical and recreational cannabis are illegal. However, marijuana has been decriminalized, so first time offenders will not be jailed for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of up to 0.5 ounces is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $200.

Although North Carolina is not considered a medical cannabis-approved state, it is legal for a very specific set of patients to have medical marijuana. In 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act into law, which allows individuals with intractable epilepsy to possess and use hemp extracts that contain at least 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC. Patients who qualify must purchase the cannabis in a medical marijuana state that allows out-of-state patients, as North Carolina does not produce any cannabis or hemp products. The access of medical marijuana is so prohibitive that the state isn’t considered to have legalized medical marijuana.

Though many previous rounds of medical marijuana legislation have failed, many are hopeful about House Bill 983 passing. The bill is focused on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, and if passed, would allow a number of certified physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness. The Bill needs to pass in the House Health Committee before moving on to be passed in the House. If passed, recreational marijuana use will still be illegal in the state.

Kush encourages discretion for all travelers. If you do partake, don’t drive while high – you can be convicted of a DUI for driving under the influence of marijuana in North Carolina. If you find yourself in a pinch with the law, check out our North Carolina Cannabis Lawyers page for help!

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North Carolina FAQ

Is Marijuana legal in North Carolina?

Currently, marijuana, for both medical and recreational uses, is not legal in North Carolina. House Bill 983, which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, is currently in the House, awaiting review.

The exception is patients with epilepsy: under the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, medical patients with epilepsy are permitted to possess and use hemp extracts that contain at least 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC to treat their condition.

Where can I buy marijuana?

There are currently no legal outlets in North Carolina where residents can purchase marijuana or marijuana products. If you are a patient with epilepsy who qualifies under the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, you must obtain the hemp extracts from a medical marijuana state that permits out-of-state patients.

How can I help legalize marijuana in North Carolina?

Residents of North Carolina can help get marijuana legalized in their state by writing to their state legislators and urging them to legalize marijuana.

How much will it cost if it is legalized?

The price of marijuana will vary based on strain and quality, and it will also be dependent on what the tax rate is. You can expect prices to be between $10 to $30 per gram. If Bill 983 is passed, marijuana will be taxed $8 per ounce.

What types of marijuana will the stores sell?

This is all dependent on the specific law that ends up being passed in North Carolina, but in general, this is an overview of what stores in states with legalized marijuana carry. You will see a number of different flower strains categorized by their strains ranging from strong Indicas to strong Sativas and everything in between. Each strain can have different effects so be sure to ask the budtender for assistance in choosing the best marijuana for you. Strong Sativas strains are known for their general uplifting, energizing, and head high effects while Indicas are known for their full body highs and sedative effects.

Dispensaries will also sell a number of other types of marijuana products, including but not limited to:

  • Concentrates: essential oils of the cannabis plant. Warning: these can be very potent!
  • Edibles: Cannabis infused foods, candies, or drinks. Warning: These can be very potent! Be sure to check the serving size before enjoying and remember the effects can take up to an hour to hit you.
  • Transdermal Products (Topicals): creams, lotions, massage oils and such infused with cannabis. These products are not psychoactive and will not get you high.
  • Seeds: seeds that can be used to grow your own marijuana plants. Stores will have many different strains of Indicas and Sativas.
  • Clones: healthy seedlings that are ready be grown.

What is the punishment if I’m caught with marijuana?

Marijuana has been decriminalized in North Carolina. Possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Possession of 1/2 ounce to 1½ ounces can earn up to 45 days in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If you find yourself in a pinch with the law, check out our North Carolina Cannabis Lawyers page for help!

If marijuana gets legalized, can I still get in trouble?

Yes. You can always get in trouble at the federal level, even if marijuana gets legalized in North Carolina. Be sure to always follow the laws of the state you are in, and state authorities will have no issues with you.

Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. Please respect the current state of Marijuana law in your area.

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