is weed legal in north carolina

Is Weed Legal In North Carolina: Full Guide

Table of Contents

North Carolina is known for its diverse geography, which includes the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. The state is also home to several major research universities, including Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. North Carolina has a rich history, including being the site of the first successful powered flight by the Wright brothers in 1903. The state’s economy is driven by agriculture, manufacturing, and technology, and it is also a popular destination for tourists, with attractions such as the Biltmore Estate and the Outer Banks. Yet, one thing the Tar Heel State is not known for is legal weed. 

Is Weed Legal in North Carolina? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: No
  • Medical THC: No
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: Yes

Weed is Illegal in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of those perplexing states where marijuana is still illegal for both medical and recreational purposes, but it is legal to use if you have epilepsy, though there are some strict restrictions even then. Hemp extracts with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD are legal for patients with uncontrollable epilepsy to possess and use. Other customers can buy CBD made from hemp with a THC content of less than 0.3%. Anything with more THC than that is classified as marijuana and is prohibited for general consumer use in North Carolina.

Roy Cooper, the governor of North Carolina, does think there is a chance to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes. After the House Republicans opposed the medical cannabis bill, preventing it from being passed after the Senate voted in favor of it, he publicly backed the idea of decriminalizing marijuana in the state.

Cannabinoid Variants

THC is the main cannabinoid found in marijuana and the one that is subject to the strictest regulations. However, hemp-derived cannabinoids have just recently spawned a new industry and are subject to a number of regulations.

Is CBD legal in North Carolina?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in North Carolina.

Is Delta-8 legal in North Carolina? 

Similar to Delta-9 THC, Delta-8 THC has psychoactive and euphoric effects. The use or purchase of Delta-8 has been outlawed in many states, but it’s perfectly legal in North Carolina.

Is Delta-10 legal in North Carolina? 

Following the passage of the Farm Bill by the federal government, North Carolina passed Senate Bill 352, which changed the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act to exclude all tetrahydrocannabinols derived from hemp, including Delta-8 and Delta-10. This indicates that state law now recognizes Delta-8 and Delta-10 THC as legal substances.

Is THC-O and other THC variants legal in North Carolina? 

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in North Carolina?

Despite the fact that other states have outlawed HHC and HHC-O because they are synthetic THC isomers, HHC and HHC-O are both legal in North Carolina. 

Cultivation Laws

It is unlawful to cultivate, possess, or use marijuana in North Carolina for recreational or medical purposes. This might change soon, but for the time being, it’s off limits!

Where to Buy Weed in North Carolina

Without a legal avenue for controlled production and sale, the only way to obtain weed in North Carolina is illegally through the black market. 

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

Direct to Consumer

The only direct to consumer purchasing options would be hemp-derived cannabinoids. In this case, there are several brick-and-mortar locations and online shops to stock up your stash if you live in North Carolina. 

Efforts to Legalize Weed in North Carolina

In April 2023, North Carolina lawmakers filed two bills to legalize recreational marijuana: House Bill 626 and Senate Bill 346. House Bill 626, filed by four Democratic members with co-sponsorship from eight colleagues, would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults aged 21 and older.

A SurveyUSA poll conducted in 2021 showed that 57% of North Carolina voters support legalizing cannabis for adults, while 32% believe recreational marijuana should remain illegal. State Representative Kelly Alexander, one of the sponsors of House Bill 626, noted that it is time for citizens to use cannabis without stigma and fear of arrest.

House Bill 626 also proposes a framework for producing and selling recreational marijuana for adults. In addition, the bill includes social equity provisions to support communities negatively impacted by prohibition. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 346, filed in March 2023 by four Democratic senators, would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of cannabis concentrates by adults. The bill also permits the cultivation of up to six cannabis plants at home.

Both bills outline regulatory frameworks for recreational marijuana production and sales and emphasize social equity efforts. Senate Bill 346 proposes a 20% tax on marijuana products, allowing local governments to add an additional tax of 3%.

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in North Carolina? 

Marijuana use is illegal in North Carolina unless you are an epileptic patient and have a medical marijuana card. In order to avoid being seen, it is best to avoid indulging in public. You are only allowed to use cannabis inside your home if you have a license to consume it for medical reasons.

Can you smoke weed in public in North Carolina? 

Nope! It’s as simple as that. 

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for growing weed?

Cultivation of 10 pounds or less of marijuana is a Class I felony carrying a potential sentence of three to eight months in prison and/or a fine that is up to the court. If you get caught growing more than that, well, then you can imagine the punishment will be higher. 

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

In North Carolina, selling marijuana can be referred to as distribution and holds the same penalties as intent to sell. Gifting and selling are the same thing in the eyes of the law so you are subject to the possession or intent to distribute penalties. Transporting or importing weed is a federal offense and punishments are based on quantity and incoming or outgoing jurisdictions.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

North Carolina law states that selling or giving marijuana, paraphernalia, or other forms of illegal THC products from someone who is of the age of 18 or older to a minor is a Class C felony punishable by three and half to six and half years in prison and a fine decided by the court. 

What is possession with the intent to sell?

When you have more cannabis than you could reasonably consume or more than what is allowed by law, you are in possession with the intent to distribute.

Intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver marijuana is a Class I felony,  punishable by up to 24 months in prison. This may be elevated if you are caught near a school or other protected area.
– 10 pounds to 50 pounds may be charged as trafficking in North Carolina as a Class H felony.
– 50 to 2,000 pounds is a Class G felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 months in prison.

What are the penalties for possession for personal use?

The penalties for possession of marijuana are:
– Possession of 0.5 ounce or less as well as possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a Class 1 misdemeanor, Punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. 
– Possession of up to 1.5 ounces is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and a $500 fine.
– Possession of more than 1.5 ounces or repeated possession can be elevated to a Class I felony.

Take Action
to Legalize

Show your support for federal legalization of all cannabis.

Text "Vote" to 420-420

Legal Weed Updates

Enter your information below to get updates and alerts about the legality status of weed in your area.

Legal Weed Updates