Cannabis cultivation is not legal in Cumberland County, whether for medical or recreational use, as of February 2023.
The legalization of medical cannabis was proposed by Senate Bill (SB) 711, which the North Carolina Senate passed on June 6, 2022. However, SB 711 did not advance in the North Carolina House of Representatives. SB 3, also proposing that medical cannabis be legalized, was filed on January 26, 2023, in the Senate. If ratified, it will also be called the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act as in SB 711.
The creation under the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) of a Medical Cannabis Production Commission to manage the licensing and regulation of medical cannabis statewide is proposed by SB 3. The Commission will grant a medical cannabis supplier license that authorizes the cultivation of cannabis, manufacturing of medical cannabis products, and retail selling of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to patients and caregivers registered in the Commission’s registry. A maximum of 10 medical cannabis supplier licenses statewide will be granted.
Only those who have resided in North Carolina for not less than two years are qualified to apply for the medical cannabis supplier license. They must show proof of having the knowledge and technical and technological competence for:
The medical cannabis supplier license fee will be $50,000, with an additional $5,000 for every cultivation facility the licensee will operate. All fees are non-refundable. The validity of the license is one year, and renewal must be done not less than a month before its expiration.
A licensed medical cannabis supplier facility must be put up at the address registered with the Medical Cannabis Production Commission. It must be a fully secured and controlled facility, with entry limited only to employees, authorized visitors not younger than age 21 accompanied by facility employees, and emergency services workers. The North Carolina DHHS and law enforcement personnel must be allowed to inspect the premises at any time.
A North Carolina DHH-licensed independent laboratory must test representative batch samples of all medical marijuana plants, plant parts, and products. Separate testing may also be done by the Medical Cannabis Production Commission.
Not later than 120 days after receiving the license, the medical cannabis supplier license holder must start growing medical marijuana.
Cannabis manufacturing is not legal in Cumberland County, whether for medical or recreational use, as of February 2023.
The legalization of medical cannabis manufacturing through a medical cannabis supplier license from the North Carolina DHHS Medical Cannabis Production Commission is proposed by SB 3. For each manufacturing facility to be run by the licensee, a fee of $5,000 must be added to the $50,000 license fee. The license holder must ensure compliance with all the above-stated medical cannabis supplier license regulations.
Selling cannabis by retail is not legal in Cumberland County, whether for medical or recreational use, as of February 2023.
If SB 3 is passed, every medical cannabis supplier licensee will be permitted to own and run up to eight medical cannabis centers. A minimum of one medical cannabis center of each licensee must be in a Tier 1 county. The licensee must pay a $5,000 fee for every medical cannabis center it will operate in addition to the $50,000 license fee. No more than 270 days from starting to grow medical marijuana, the licensee must start selling medical cannabis and medical cannabis products in its medical cannabis centers.
The only items allowed for a medical cannabis center to sell are medical marijuana, medical marijuana products, and implements needed to administer medical marijuana. They will be permitted to sell these only to medical cannabis registry card-holding patients and caregivers. Entry to the medical cannabis center is restricted to these registered patients and caregivers, personnel, and authorized visitors.
Each licensee must observe all the regulations previously stated for medical cannabis supplier licenses. Furthermore, each medical cannabis center must be located over 1,000 feet away from a private or public school, childcare establishment, community college, or church. From outside the center, no medical marijuana, medical marijuana products, and marijuana accessories must be visible. Consuming or using medical marijuana or medical marijuana products will be forbidden in medical cannabis centers. Selling will be permitted only from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Each medical cannabis center employee will be required to do the following before completing a sale:
● Check the patient’s or caregiver’s identity against the medical cannabis registry card presented.
● Check through the online registry whether the medical cannabis registry card presented is valid.
● Check the online registry for the patient’s prescription to make sure that the patient stays within the limits of a 30-day supply.
● Check the medical cannabis delivery method prescribed for the patient to ensure that the purchase is compliant.
● Enter the following information in the North Carolina DHHS Medical Cannabis Production Commission’s online verification system:
○ The registry identification number of the medical cannabis center
○ The identity of the patient or caregiver
○ The date and time of the sale
○ The quantity of medical marijuana or medical marijuana products sold
Delivering cannabis is not legal in Cumberland County, whether for medical or recreational use, as of February 2023.
If SB 3 is ratified, licensed medical cannabis centers will be allowed to deliver to medical cannabis registry card-holding patients and caregivers the medical marijuana or medical marijuana products they purchase. The North Carolina DHHS Medical Cannabis Production Commission will establish the regulations covering medical cannabis delivery.
As of February 2023, North Carolina is not issuing medical marijuana cards because medical cannabis is not legal in the state.
However, the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act allows the use of hemp extract to treat patients with intractable epilepsy, and this is also extracted from the cannabis plant. A North Carolina DHHS Caregiver Registration letter is required to possess hemp extract and use it for treating qualified patients.
Only hemp extract with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content lower than 0.9% and cannabidiol (CBD) content of at least 5% by weight is allowed by the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. As of February 2023, hemp extract needed to treat epilepsy patients has to be purchased from outside North Carolina since the state still prohibits the cultivation, manufacturing, and selling of any type of cannabis, whether for medical or recreational use.
To qualify for hemp extract treatment, a patient must be diagnosed with intractable epilepsy by a neurologist licensed to practice in North Carolina and referred to the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment program. The neurologist must find no other treatment effective for the patient’s medical condition. There is no age restriction for patients.
Each qualified patient must have a caregiver. The caregiver must be the patient’s parent, legal guardian, or custodian who is a resident of North Carolina and is aged 18 and older.
The Caregiver Registration Application must be downloaded, printed, and completed by the caregiver before sending with a photocopy of a North Carolina driver’s license, military ID, or state ID, or to:
NC Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Registration
3008 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
The Caregiver Registration letter will be sent to approved caregivers by the North Carolina DHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. The caregiver must have the letter when carrying hemp extract.
Contact the following for queries or more information:
North Carolina Drug Control Unit
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday
If SB 3 is enacted into law, the North Carolina DHHS Medical Cannabis Production Commission will be authorized to issue a medical marijuana card to patients and caregivers under the following conditions:
A qualified physician must have diagnosed the patient to be suffering from a qualified debilitating medical condition and provided a written certification.
To be qualified, a physician will be required to complete a 10-hour medical cannabis prescription course. Every additional year that doctors continue to issue medical cannabis registry written certifications, they are required to take a three-hour supplemental course.
The listed qualifying debilitating conditions are:
Sickle cell anemia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Post-traumatic stress disorder with evidence of trauma
A homebound or bedridden patient’s persistent or severe nausea
A medical condition that requires hospice care
A terminal illness where life expectancy is shorter than six months
Any other medical condition to be named by the Commission
The patient must be informed by the doctor of the symptoms and dangers of cannabis-induced psychosis, cannabis use disorder, and the hazards of driving after the consumption or use of medical marijuana.
The written certification must be submitted by the doctor to the database of the medical cannabis registry.
Two caregivers at most must be registered for qualified patients aged younger than 18. One of the caregivers must be a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the patient. Exceptions to the number of caregivers for a patient may be granted by the Commission.
It will be the responsibility of the caregiver to ensure the following:
The patient is given medical cannabis treatment
Medical cannabis is purchased for the patient
The proper dose of medical cannabis and frequency of use are followed
Methods of medical cannabis delivery do not include inhalation
The patient and caregiver must pay the $28 medical cannabis card application fee.
Only qualified patients and caregivers will be issued the medical cannabis registry card.
Cumberland County’s economy has not been affected by cannabis because North Carolina has not legalized the medical or recreational use of cannabis as of February 2023. Under the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, any hemp extract needed for treating patients has to be acquired from another jurisdiction.
If SB 3 passes, medical cannabis sales of medical cannabis supplier licensees may be subject to sales tax. Also, the Bill proposes that the licensees pay a monthly fee of 10% of their gross medical cannabis and medical cannabis products’ sales to the North Carolina DHHS.
As of February 2023, North Carolina, including Cumberland County, has not legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use.
As a baseline, data from the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page shows that in 2019, the latest data available, there were 45 arrests related to marijuana offenses, of which 38 were for marijuana possession, and seven were for marijuana manufacturing or sales. There is no data on DUI arrests in 2019.