North Carolina Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in North Carolina?

Possession of marijuana is illegal in North Carolina for recreational and medical purposes. The state’s Controlled Substance Act makes the possession, consumption, or sale of weed an offense. Furthermore, the US Controlled Substance Act makes marijuana illegal at the federal level. 

Despite the illegal status of marijuana in North Carolina, the state passed HB 766, thus legalizing the use of hemp extract (marijuana with not more than 0.9% THC) for medical purposes. Individuals with qualifying medical conditions, such as uncontrollable epilepsy, insomnia, rheumatoid arthritis, and anxiety may use hemp extract. 

How Much Weed Is a Felony in North Carolina?

Weed possession or use is illegal in North Carolina. However, the severity of the penalty for carrying weed generally depends on the amount, type, location, and intent (sale, cultivation, or distribution). The following are weed possession violations that constitute a felony in North Carolina.

  • Possessing between 45 grams (1.6 ounces) and 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) of marijuana is punishable by up to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine.

  • Possessing over 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) and less than 22,679 grams (50 pounds) of marijuana is punishable by up to 39 months in jail and a minimum fine of $5000. 

  • Possessing between 22,679 grams (50 pounds) and less than 907,184 grams (2000 pounds) of marijuana is punishable by up to 51 months in jail and a minimum fine of $25,000. 

  • Possessing between 907,184 grams (2000 pounds) and less than 4.5 million grams (10,000 pounds) of marijuana is punishable by up to 93 months in jail and a minimum fine of $50,000. 

  • Possessing 4.5 million grams (10,000 pounds) or more of marijuana is punishable by up to 222 months in jail and a minimum fine of $200,000.

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in North Carolina?

Weed possession laws in North Carolina are generally more lenient on first-time offenders. However, subsequent offenses result in heavier penalties. Below are the penalties for the first-time offense of possession of weed in the state.

  • Marijuana violations that are considered misdemeanors, such as possession of 28 grams of weed, usually lead to probation. Generally, probation includes drug education and community service. 

  • A first-time offender who possesses more than 14 grams (half an ounce) to 42.5 grams (1.5 ounces) of weed is liable to a penalty of one to 45 days jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender carrying 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) of weed to sell faces a penalty of three to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offense of selling less than 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) of weed may result in four to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine. 

  • A first-time offense of delivering less than 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) of marijuana without compensation may result in three to eight months in jail and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offense of cultivating less than 4535.9 grams (10 pounds) of marijuana can lead to three to eight months of jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender aged 18 years or more who sells or delivers weed to a person between the ages of 14 and 15 or a pregnant woman is liable to a penalty of between 38 - 80 months in jail and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender aged 18 years or more who sells or delivers weed to a minor (13 years old or less) is liable to a penalty of 44 - 92 months in jail and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender aged between 18-20 years who uses a minor (14-17 years old) to sell, cultivate, or deliver marijuana is liable to a penalty of eight to 16 months in jail plus a discretionary fine. If the minor is aged 13 or less, the crime becomes a Class F felony, and the penalty is between ten to 20 months in jail plus a discretionary fine. 

  • A first-time offender aged 21 or more who uses a minor (14-17 years old) to sell, cultivate or deliver marijuana is liable to between 15 to 31 months in jail and a discretionary fine. However, if the minor is aged 13 or less, the penalty is between 38 - 80 months of jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender aged 21 or more who encourages, forces, entices, or supports a minor in delivering, selling, or cultivating weed is liable to between 38 and 80 months of jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender aged 21 or more who buys weed from a 13-year-old (or younger) minor is liable to a penalty of eight to 16 months of jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offender who sells/delivers weed in or within 1,000 feet of a daycare center, school, or park is liable to between 15 and 31 months of jail time and a discretionary fine.

  • A first-time offense of carrying any amount of weed within a local confinement facility or a correctional center is punishable by four to 8 months in jail and a discretionary fine.

Where to Buy Legal Weed in North Carolina

It is illegal to sell weed in North Carolina. Therefore, interested persons cannot lawfully buy weed in the state. However, individuals with specific health problems can purchase hemp extracts for medical use from licensed dispensaries. 

For instance, patients with uncontrollable epilepsy can purchase CBD extract with 0.9% THC or less in the state. Interested persons can buy them online or by visiting a licensed hemp extract shop nearby.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy Weed in North Carolina

Weed is illegal for all North Carolina residents regardless of age. Buying weed from a minor as an adult may lead to an imprisonment of over a year. However, individuals with qualifying health problems can buy weed extract to treat their medical conditions. North Carolina has no age limit for medical use of hemp extracts.

How Much Weed Can You Carry in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, residents cannot carry any amount of marijuana legally. The state is still in the process of legalizing the use of weed for medical purposes, and until then, the only individuals who may carry marijuana products are patients in the medical marijuana program. 

Even at that, these patients can only carry products with a THC content of 0.9% or less. Any individual caught carrying 28 grams of weed, for instance, is liable to a penalty of 45 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1000.

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, a person under 18 who gets caught with weed will be charged in the state’s Juvenile Court. Generally, a person under 18 getting caught with less than 14 grams (0.5 ounces) of weed only gets to pay a fine, especially if it is a first-time offense.

The judges in North Carolina juvenile courts make all the decisions in criminal cases. Below are factors that can influence the decision of a judge in a Juvenile case:

  • The quantity of the weed.
  • If it is a first-time offense or a subsequent offense.
  • Location of the offense.

Probation and detention are the general penalties for juveniles caught with marijuana in North Carolina. 

  • Probation: The judge can order the individual to return to school, perform community service or enroll in a drug counseling program. Generally, this penalty is for first-time offenders and those who were caught with less than 42 grams (1.5 ounces) of weed. Usually, a probation officer is assigned to the offender, and the probation period may last for six months or more.

  • Detention - The judge may also order the offender to be incarcerated in a juvenile hall or another type of correctional detention. This punishment is usually reserved for repeat offenders and those caught with more than 42 grams of weed. Likewise, persons caught with weed in a children's park, daycare center, or school will get probation. In serious cases, the court may impose a sentence until the offender’s twenty-first birthday. 

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Human and Health Services (DHHS) outlaws the growing of cannabis in the state. Marijuana is considered a class six substance which are goods labeled as dangerous due to its toxicity and infectiousness. However, a farmer with a hemp license from the Department of Agriculture can grow hemp with less than 0.9% THC.

How Much Weed Can You Fly With from North Carolina?

It is illegal to fly with any amount of weed from North Carolina. Doing so constitutes a state and federal offense because interstate travels fall under the federal purview. An offender is liable to a discretionary fine and jail time, depending on factors surrounding the violation, particularly the quantity of the weed.

Is It Illegal to Be High in Public in North Carolina?

It is not illegal to be high in public in North Carolina. However, a person may be taken to protective custody for being high in public. Also, being disorderly from intoxication is an offense punishable by a fine of up to $200. 

In addition, a first-time offender may spend one to ten days in jail. Subsequent offenses attract a mandatory jail time of up to 20 days in jail. Furthermore, driving while high is a crime that, combined with careless driving, incurs a $4000 fine and a two-year jail time (NC. Gen. Stat. 20-138.1).