North Carolina Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in North Carolina?

No. It is illegal to mail weed in North Carolina for any purpose (medical or recreational). North Carolina legalized low-THC cannabis (marijuana products containing less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol) for medical use through House Bill 766 (the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act). However, the state does not allow the delivery of marijuana products by individuals or business entities or through third-party carriers. Furthermore, cannabis is illegal federally because it is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the United States Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, mailing cannabis products through the U.S. Postal Services, which is a federal agency, is prohibited.      

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in North Carolina?

Edibles are cannabis products manufactured for oral consumption. Since cannabis is illegal federally, transporting edibles across state lines in North Carolina can attract federal penalties as stipulated in Title 21, Section 844a of the United States Code. For a first offense, a defendant could face one year of incarceration and a $1,000 minimum fine. If an offender is convicted a second time for taking edibles across state lines, they could face a two-year maximum jail term, with 15 days of their sentence being mandatory and a $2,500 fine. Subsequent convictions could attract $5,000 fines and three-year maximum jail terms, with 90 days of the sentences being mandatory. 

An offender transporting large quantities of edibles across state lines in North Carolina could also face punishments for marijuana trafficking as stipulated in Section 90.95 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Carrying over 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds of edibles attracts 25 months to 39 months jail term and a minimum fine of $5,000. The penalty increases to a $25,000 minimum fine and 35 months to 51 months incarceration for offenders transporting over 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of edibles across state lines in North Carolina. If a defendant is convicted of carrying 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds of edibles, they could face between 70 months and 93 months imprisonment and a $50,000 fine. The punishment for carrying over 10,000 pounds of edibles across state lines in North Carolina is 175 to 222 months imprisonment and a $200,000 minimum fine.  

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in North Carolina?

North Carolina's penalties for marijuana trafficking are different from those of other drug trafficking offenses in the state and may be more severe. Persons charged with marijuana trafficking in the state should remain silent until their attorneys are present to avoid divulging incriminating information to law enforcement. One way to get a marijuana trafficking charge dismissed in North Carolina is by challenging the evidence presented in court. If a defendant proves that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, the case may be dismissed. Furthermore, a defendant may look for ways to prove that the evidence presented against them was obtained illegally. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable seizures and searches. Therefore, if police officers searched a defendant's property and obtained evidence without probable cause or a search warrant, the evidence could be excluded from the case. As a result, the marijuana trafficking charge may be dropped. Also, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S Constitution prohibits police from forcefully obtaining information from suspects. If the police officers who took a defendant into custody for marijuana trafficking did not read the defendant's Miranda rights, the case might be dismissed by the court.    

Furthermore, if a defense team proves that an informant or witness in a marijuana trafficking case is unreliable, their testimony against the defendant may be disregarded, and the case may be dismissed. This approach may be effective if a witness is a suspect in another case who was offered a reduced punishment in exchange for their testimony. A defendant may also claim that they did not know about the marijuana product in their possession or did not plan to distribute it to others. If there is sufficient evidence supporting either claim, the marijuana trafficking charge against them may be dismissed. The defendant's attorney in a North Carolina marijuana trafficking case may also negotiate a lesser sentence for their client. This may be possible if a client has substantial information that can help law enforcement build a case against a suspect for another crime.          

Drug Trafficking Facts in North Carolina

As stated in Section 90.95(h) of the North Carolina General Statutes, marijuana trafficking is the sale, manufacture, delivery, transportation, or possession of over 10 pounds of cannabis products illegally. Under North Carolina law, marijuana trafficking is a serious offense, and the punishment depends on the quantities of cannabis products involved. As defined in Section 14.1 of the North Carolina General Statutes, felonies are crimes punishable by death or incarceration in state prison. On the other hand, misdemeanors in North Carolina are crimes for which punishments other than imprisonment or death may be imposed. All marijuana trafficking offenses in North Carolina are felonies. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) monitors drug trafficking operations at the state level. 

According to a North Carolina drug control report published by the Executive Office of the President of the United States (EOP), marijuana is the most common substance that causes drug treatment admissions in the state. Per the report, North Carolina recorded over 9,000 marijuana abuse treatment admissions in 2010. According to arrest reports published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), North Carolina recorded 17,040 arrests for marijuana-related offenses in 2019 and 13,424 arrests in 2020. A North Carolina drug threat assessment report published by the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) reveals that Mexican criminal groups are the primary transporters and wholesale distributors of marijuana in the state. Local independent drug dealers actively distribute marijuana in urban and rural areas of North Carolina. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) monitors marijuana trafficking crimes at the federal level.              

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in North Carolina?

North Carolina considers the illegal possession, sale, transportation, delivery, or manufacture of over 10 pounds (4535.92 grams) of cannabis products as ''trafficking in marijuana.'' The penalties for trafficking various amounts of cannabis products are outlined in Section 90.95(h) of the North Carolina General Statutes. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule VI controlled substance in Section 90.94 of the North Carolina General Statutes. However, the penalties for trafficking marijuana are different from those for trafficking other controlled substances in the state. North Carolina's drug trafficking laws primarily prohibit illicit activities involving large amounts of cannabis products. The penalties for illegally possessing, producing, or distributing smaller amounts of controlled substances are milder than those for trafficking large quantities of such substances. 

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in North Carolina?

As stipulated in Section 90.95(h)(1)(a) of the North Carolina General Statutes, trafficking over 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds of marijuana products is a class-H felony. The punishment for such an offense is a $5,000 minimum fine and 25 months to 39 months imprisonment. If an offender is caught trafficking 50 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana products, they could face a class-G felony punishment of 35 months to 51 months incarceration and a $25,000 minimum fine. Per Section 90.95(h)(1)(c) of the North Carolina General Statutes, trafficking 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds of cannabis products attracts a class-F felony punishment of 70 months to 93 months imprisonment and a minimum fine of $50,000. Offenders convicted of trafficking 10,000 pounds or more of cannabis products in North Carolina could face class-D felony punishments of 175 months to 222 months jail term and at least $200,000 in fines.    

How to Transport Weed Legally in North Carolina

Although House Bill 766 permits the use of cannabis for treating specific medical conditions, it does not contain provisions for the legal transportation of cannabis products. Also, House Bill 766 does not allow the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries that can carry cannabis products within the state. Therefore, there is no special license in North Carolina that authorizes businesses or individuals to transport marijuana products. Only cannabis products containing less than 0.9% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and minimum cannabidiol (CBD) contents of 5% are allowed for medical use in North Carolina. The provisions of Section 90.94.1 of the North Carolina General Statutes require medical marijuana patients and caregivers to carry documents indicating the potencies and ingredients in cannabis products in their possession.