North Carolina Marijuana Laws
Updated September 2019
Despite recent efforts to improve marijuana policy in North Carolina, the state’s cannabis laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. Learn more about North Carolina marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in North Carolina
Prior to the waves of legalization and decriminalization in the United States over the last several years, North Carolina was one of the more lenient states when it came to penalties for marijuana possession.
Possession of 0.5 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class 3 misdemeanor and punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Possession of 0.5 to 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of more than 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 felony offense, punishable by 3 to 8 months imprisonment and a discretionary fine.
Crimes involving the sale, delivery, the intent to distribute, or cultivation are also felonies.
Medical Marijuana in North Carolina
There is currently no comprehensive medical marijuana policy in North Carolina.
North Carolina did sign a low-THC medical cannabis bill, House Bill 1220, into law on July 3, 2014. Like most other restrictive medical cannabis laws, it gives only intractable epilepsy patients access to the extracts. The bill further states that cannabis oil must contain less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The bill does not contain any provisions to produce or distribute cannabis oil within the state.
The state legislature has introduced multiple medical marijuana bills, none have gained significant traction or been signed into law. The most recent medical marijuana bill in North Carolina, House Bill 401, was introduced in March 2019, but it has yet to make it through committee.
CBD from Hemp Oil in North Carolina
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in North Carolina
Cultivating cannabis for personal or medical purposes is illegal in North Carolina. The state prosecutes cannabis cultivation as a felony, with even cultivation of small amounts leading to as much as 8 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
On October 30, 2015, a bill legalizing industrial hemp cultivation became law despite not receiving the signature of Governor Pat McCroy. Under Senate Bill 313, a new industrial hemp commission will manage the commercial growers and researchers of the statewide program.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. Although we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Therefore, any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk.
With more states legalizing the use of marijuana it can be hard to stay up to date on North Carolina marijuana laws. Click to learn more about marijuana laws in NC!
North Carolina Marijuana Information
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.
Is Recreational Cannabis legal in North Carolina? Can I buy Medical Marijuana in North Carolina? Are there any Dispensaries in North Carolina? Click here to