Despite recent legislative efforts to improve cannabis policy in North Carolina, the state’s cannabis laws are among the most restrictive in the nation.
CBD from Hemp Oil in North Carolina
Hemp CBD oil is federally legal in the U.S. Individual state laws, however, are dynamic and some states have and will enact their own laws regulating hemp-derived CBD. North Carolina may govern hemp-derived CBD.
Medical Cannabis in North Carolina
There is currently no comprehensive medical cannabis policy in North Carolina.
North Carolina did sign a “CBD only” bill, House Bill 1220, into law on July 3, 2014. Like most other cannabinoid laws, it gives only intractable epilepsy patients access to hemp extracts. The bill further states that the CBD oil must contain at least 5% cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The bill does not contain any provisions to produce or distribute the cannabis oil within the state.
The state legislature has introduced multiple medical cannabis bills, none have gained significant traction or been signed into law. The most recent medical cannabis bill in North Carolina, House Bill 983, was introduced in April 2016, but the legislative session ended with the bill remaining in the Committee on Health.
Recreational Cannabis 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 cannabis possession.
Possession of 0.5 ounces or less of cannabis 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 sale, delivery, the intent to distribute, or cultivation are also felonies.
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.