No, cannabis cultivation is not allowed in Forsyth County. In fact, in North Carolina, it is currently illegal to grow cannabis, even for medical purposes. North Carolina's Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 711) passed the Senate's third reading on June 6, 2022, by a vote of 36 against 7. The Bill is now awaiting the House of Representatives' decision.
Senate Bill 711 aims to legalize the cultivation, processing, purchase, sale, and use of medical cannabis for patients diagnosed by doctors with certain debilitating medical conditions. The Medical Cannabis Production Commission will be established under the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The Commission will be made up of 11 experts in the field. On the suggestion of the Department, it may have the authority to grant applications for licenses for medical cannabis businesses, as well as to suspend or revoke their licenses. The Commission will only process and approve up to 10 licenses for medical cannabis suppliers.
Licensed medical cannabis suppliers will be permitted to grow and manufacture medical cannabis only in licensed manufacturing facilities and to sell products only in licensed medical cannabis centers. Each licensed supplier can only have a maximum of four medical cannabis centers.
In North Carolina, including Forsyth County, the production of cannabis is illegal. If Senate Bill 711 is passed, licensed medical cannabis suppliers will be allowed to produce medical cannabis that they grow or purchase from other licensed medical cannabis suppliers. The Bill does not specify the types of medical cannabis products that may be manufactured, but all medical cannabis products must be sealed in child-safe packaging with accurate labels.
In addition, the Department is required to inspect any cannabis manufacturing facilities or dispensaries annually. The Department and the State Bureau of Investigations will randomly investigate all manufacturing sites and medical cannabis operations. Suppliers would be required to install suitable security measures in compliance with the Commission's rules.
Cannabis retail is currently illegal in Forsyth County. If Senate Bill 711 is approved, only medical cannabis grown at licensed facilities will be allowed for sale at retail. Only registered patients will be authorized to purchase from licensed medical cannabis centers from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The medical cannabis facilities will not be open to anyone under the age of 18. It will also be unlawful to use medical cannabis inside medical cannabis facilities. The permitted locations for medicinal cannabis centers will be regulated by the Medical Cannabis Production Commission. All of their personnel must be at least 21 years old.
Senate Bill 711 also specifies that the branding, advertisements, and signage for the production facility or medical cannabis center must be medically relevant, tasteful, respectful, and not appeal to minors. A cannabis manufacturing facility or medicinal marijuana center must maintain a discreet and professional image.
Delivering cannabis is currently prohibited in North Carolina, including Forsyth County, since cannabis is not yet legal in the state.
If Senate Bill 711 is approved, licensed medical cannabis suppliers will be allowed to provide and deliver medical cannabis to registered patients at their authorized locations.
As of date, it is not yet possible to obtain a medical marijuana ID card in North Carolina and Forsyth County.
If Senate Bill 711 is approved, patients with the following medical conditions will be able to apply for a registry card with the Department of Health and Human Services as long as they have a qualifying doctor's certification:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Cachexia or wasting syndrome
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Severe or persistent nausea associated with hospice care, end of life, or a bedridden or homebound condition
Sickle cell anemia
Terminal illness with life expectancy of less than 6 months
Other serious conditions added by the Compassionate Use Advisory Board
A medical marijuana registration card will also be issued to the patient's caregiver. However, medical marijuana registration cards are not issued to minors. Senate Bill 711 also mandates everyone with a medical marijuana registration card to carry both their card and a valid ID while they are in possession of marijuana. When approached, the bearer of the medical marijuana registration card must show both their card and a valid ID to any law enforcement officer.
Cannabis is not yet legal in North Carolina, and this includes Forsyth County.
No sales tax will be applied to medical cannabis if Senate Bill 711 is approved. However, there will be a $50,000 application cost and an additional $5,000 for each cultivation, manufacturing, or medical cannabis center that will be run as part of the process of becoming a medical marijuana supplier. Additionally, licensed medical cannabis suppliers will be mandated to pay a monthly fee equal to 10% of their gross earnings.
Furthermore, the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Program Fund will receive all proceeds from the sale of medical marijuana. Once the Bill is approved, the fund will be utilized to carry out, administer, and enforce the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act. The yearly surplus will be sent to the North Carolina State General Fund.
Cannabis is not yet allowed in North Carolina and Forsyth County, even for medical purposes.
According to the most recent data posted by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer, there was a decrease in DUI arrests in 2020 and 2021, from 154 to 83 cases, respectively. The same is true for marijuana arrests, as there was also a decline in the number of cases, from 318 to 137 in 2020 and 2021, respectively.