A lot of people are out in the market asking, is weed legal in North Carolina? Whether it’s for yearly visitors or cannabis enthusiast homeowners looking transfer to the state, having a straight answer to this will result in a lot of positive things revolving around your life – mostly because of how well you have a grasp on the topic.
So, before we dive deep into the well of marijuana laws and policies in the Old North State, let us first try to dwell on its rich cannabis history and culture.
Cannabis Status in North Carolina
As simple as we can, we can compress and explain it to you in a few words – it’s illegal for any use. Yes, you read that right, North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that does not buy the entire benefit and advantage that the substance has.
The journey has been what most people call a “ride to death,” because it didn’t get any better for marijuana hopefuls and enthusiasts. Instead, it went the other way!
North Carolina Cannabis Decriminalization
A short-lived decriminalization phase has been carried out in the Tar Heel State in 1977. This was when the penalties were reduced, and possession of small amounts of cannabis (0.5 ounces or less) had a $200 maximum fine.
A year will pass and it will go back to normal, making all previous penalties legitimate and valid.
Is Weed Legal in North Carolina?
Just like how we dived deep with other states’ cannabis laws and rules, we’ll do the same for North Carolina. Doing this allows us to have a better grasp and understanding of marijuana or cannabis in different valid angles.
So, we’ll divide it into two (2) parts, primarily medical and recreational marijuana.
Medical Marijuana in North Carolina
By the volume of allowed medical marijuana in the country, you would expect North Carolina to have some type of leniency with it, right? However, that’s not what the case is.
North Carolina is like a few of the states that have limited, in fact, extremely limited medical or medicinal usage. For most states, medical or medicinal cannabis is spread out and extended – we say extended because they are not just limited to a few conditions only, because, in North Carolina, the conditions that are pre-approved to be treated with a medical marijuana card are::
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Severe Pain or Persistent Nausea
- Crohn’s Disease
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Human Immunodeficiency (HIV)
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
In other states, several other conditions are considered qualified – but, not in North Carolina. Therefore, it’s just right for you to be careful when you visit the state because the following are not considered and observed as qualifying conditions for medical or medicinal marijuana:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Severe Pain and Nausea
- Chronic Pain
Qualifying For a Medical Marijuana Card
So, if you are diagnosed and checked up with any of these conditions, do you automatically get a North Carolina medical marijuana card? Of course, not – that’s not how the system works.
Like with any other state, the application for a marijuana card is extensive and requires certain documentation, not only proving that you are experiencing those conditions, but also in making sure that you are a resident of the state and that you are of age (or if not, you have your legal guardians’ consent).
To qualify for a medical marijuana card in the state of North Carolina, you will need:
- To be at least 18 years old; if under 18, must have parents’ consent
- Should have a current diagnosis of the qualifying condition
- Must have a written certification from a certified and qualified physician or healthcare practitioner
- Must be a North Carolina resident with proof of residency (valid ID or driver’s license)
It’s also worth noting that medical marijuana is not something that you can get in North Carolina. Hemp and other similar extracts like CBD oils and topicals are allowed, given that they’ve been thoroughly checked and tested to be negative from marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana in North Carolina
The medical or medicinal marijuana laws and regulations in North Carolina are limited – that’s it. They have no remorse for recreational marijuana, and, that alone should tell you something about how they handle it.
Several legislators and bill-makers introduce bills and propositions to this, but, for most purposes and reasons, it is still considered illegal.
DID YOU KNOW: North Carolina is one of the 11 states that have not approved medical cannabis programs in the United States, even though a poll by Elon University in January 2021 said that 73% of the population support it.
Penalties in North Carolina
North Carolina is strict when it comes to their laws and regulations regarding marijuana. When we say strict, we really mean strict in the sense that people are rooting for changes and other amendments to be more lenient and convenient for patients.
Now, let’s have a brief discussion of the penalties of cannabis or marijuana laws in North Carolina.
Possession of Marijuana in North Carolina
By hook or by crook, cannabis remains to be an illegal drug in the state. Luckily, though, the Tar Heel State has partially decriminalized the possession of a half-ounce or less, putting it under the classification of 3 misdemeanor and without incarceration.
The maximum fine for this would be $200.
Being caught with half an ounce to about 1 and ½ ounce is classified to be a class 1 misdemeanor, which results in a maximum incarceration period of 45 days, as well as a discretionary fine that can go as high as $1,000.
Following that would be from 1 and ½ ounces but 10 lbs or less – that’s classified as felony, carrying a sentence of three (3) to eight (8) months plus a fine for the first offense. Subsequent cases would impose larger and bigger fines with longer periods of imprisonment.
Selling and Delivering of Marijuana in North Carolina
There are also a couple of rules surrounding the delivery and sale of cannabis in the state. Do take note, though, that the delivery of 5 grams or less of marijuana is not considered a sale and/or delivery, but still falls under possession.
10 pounds or less is considered Class H felony and is punishable by about four (4) to eight (8) months of incarceration with a discretionary fine for the first offense.
The sale or delivery of 10 pounds or more but not going over 50 pounds is class H felony; 50 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds is class G felony, and 10,000 pounds or higher is class d felony.
Cultivating Marijuana in North Carolina
Last but most definitely not least would be the cultivation of cannabis in the state. Being caught red-handed cultivating or growing 10 pounds of marijuana is considered class H felony; 50 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds is class G felony; 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds is class f felony; and 10,000+ pounds is class d felony.
These are the necessary fines and penalties attached to the possession, consumption, sale, delivery, and the cultivation of marijuana in the state.
Have further questions about the legalities of marijuana in North Carolina? We got you! We listed some of the most common questions about it here!
Is North Carolina Legalizing Weed?
Just last month, North Carolina’s Governor Ray Cooper, said that there is the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana this year. “I think medical marijuana has passed the Senate this past year, and I think that has an opportunity to pass. I do believe that we should decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in that it has been applied in a discriminatory way.”
Are Hemp Extracts Approved in North Carolina?
Yes, hemp extracts have been approved by the state, but not medical marijuana, in particular. Always remember that any type of CBD-derived from the cannabis plant is illegal. However, hemp is legal and is not considered as weed.
How Does Marijuana and Hemp Differ?
Marijuana and hemp are two (2) plants that are from the same species – cannabis. However, their variety differs from the amount of THC in them. Hemp is the plant that has 0.3% or less THC, while marijuana would usually have 0.3% THC or more.
Is weed legal in North Carolina? The quick and simple answer to that is no – it’s not. There are several medicinal and medical cannabis laws in place, however, those laws are not as lenient and as wide as other states’ regulations.
On a personal level, it’s really not something you want to rely on, especially if you’re from a different state. Remember, each and every state has its own preoccupied rules about cannabis, so, here is what North Carolina has to offer!