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Everything You Should Know About North Carolina Marijuana Laws

In North Carolina, there are many factors that contribute to drug charges. The type of drug, how much you have and whether or not you’re selling are all factors that determine the level of punishment. Currently, marijuana is still considered a class 6 substance that is illegal to knowingly possess, use, cultivate or sell under the North Carolina Controlled Substance Act. Read more to find out the breakdown for each charge.

NC Marijuana Possession Laws

  • Less than 0.5 oz: Misdemeanor charge and $200 fine
  • 0.5 – 1.5 oz: 1-45 days in jail, $1,000 fine
  • 1.5 oz – 10 lbs: felony charge, 3-8 months in jail, $1,000 fine

An important distinction to note is that the state does not consider possession of marijuana under 1.5oz as a felony, according to the North Carolina General Statute (N.C.G.S.) 90-95(a)(3).

NC Marijuana Trafficking Laws

  • 10-50 lbs: Class H felony, 25-30 months in jail, and/or $5,000 fine
  • 50-2,000 lbs: Class G felony, 25-42 months, and/or $25,000 fine
  • 2,000-10,000 lbs: Class F felony, 70-84 months and/or $50,000 fine
  • Over 10,000 lbs: Class D felony, 175-219 months in jail, and/or $200,000 fine
  • Selling within 1,000 feet of a school, child care or park: 15-31 months in jail, Felony E charge
  • Selling to age 13 and under: 44-92 months in jail, Felony C charge
  • Selling to age 13 – 16: 38 – 80 months in jail, Felony D charge
  • Selling to someone pregnant: 38 – 80 months in jail, Felony D charge

Recent Marijuana Law Updates

In 2014, the Hope 4 Haley and Friends bill was proposed to allow those who suffer from seizures to use marijuana extracts. The bill was signed into law and is now HB766, which allows those with intractable epilepsy to use hemp extract, which is oil taken from marijuana without the psychoactive effects.

In 2016, NC made it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp, which is similar to marijuana but does not have THC. Since then, hemp pharmacies have popped up around the Triangle area, serving individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, anxiety and more.

In late 2018, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill making it legal to grow, sell, transport, and possess hemp across state lines so long as it is within the limits of the federal and state law. Hemp remains a highly regulated crop, with a limit 0.3 percent of THC and a license to grow among other restrictions, but the 2018 Farm Bill is good news for farmers and those in the hemp business. Hemp, and the CBD oil derived from hemp, will now be under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture instead of the U.S. Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Agency.

Last year, there was a push to completely legalize marijuana for medical use. However, the bills failed to receive a committee vote and were not considered by 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.

Are you ready to fight your marijuana charge?

If you have been accused of possession, selling or trafficking marijuana, you face punishment that could affect the rest of your life. Reach out and speak to a Manning Law attorney today.

Taylor Manning
The content on this page was reviewed by Manning Law Firm, PLLC partner Taylor Manning. You can learn more about Taylor's experience and expertise on his bio page.