Cannabis cultivation is illegal in Wake County for medical and recreational use. Wake County is situated in North Carolina, where marijuana is illegal. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule VI controlled substance in Section 90.94 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Therefore, in line with Section 90.95 of the North Carolina General Statutes, persons cultivating marijuana plants in Wake County risk facing severe penalties.
In 2015, North Carolina legalized marijuana containing less than 0.9% tetrahydrocannabinol (low-THC cannabis) for medical use through House Bill 766 (the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act). This Act allowed registered medical marijuana patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy to use and possess low-THC marijuana products. Nevertheless, House Bill 766 does not permit registered marijuana patients or caregivers in Wake County to cultivate marijuana plants.
Cannabis manufacturing is illegal in Wake County for recreational and medical use. The provisions of House Bill 766 do not permit medical marijuana patients or caregivers in Wake County to manufacture cannabis products. Also, Section 90.95 of the North Carolina General Statutes prohibits the manufacture of cannabis products in any part of the state, including Wake County.
Cannabis retail is illegal in Wake County. The provisions of Section 90.95 of the North Carolina General Statutes prohibit the sale of cannabis products in Wake County and other counties in North Carolina. Also, House Bill 766 does not contain provisions for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in North Carolina. Therefore, medical marijuana patients in Wake County are limited to purchasing hemp-derived products which only contain less than 0.3% of THC. However, they may buy and use cannabis products when visiting other states in the US that allow cannabis sale to out-of-state patients.
According to the provisions of Section 90.95 of the North Carolina General Statutes, it is illegal to deliver cannabis products in Wake County. Also, House Bill 766 does not contain provisions for cannabis delivery to registered medical marijuana patients or caregivers in North Carolina.
As provided in House Bill 766, a person may qualify for medical marijuana treatment in Wake County if they are diagnosed with intractable epilepsy. An eligible patent must have a recommendation by a North Carolina-licensed neurologist and a caregiver who is their legal guardian, parent, or custodian. Caregivers are required to register with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) in order to possess low-THC cannabis products in Wake County legally. However, the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act does not contain provisions for medical marijuana card issuance to patients. To obtain more information about North Carolina's medical marijuana program, a person may call the Drug Control Unit under the NCDHHS at 1 (984) 5100-236 or make in-person inquiries with the Department at:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
2001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2000
Currently, marijuana is illegal in Wake County and other parts of North Carolina. Therefore, there is no state law for regulating or taxing cannabis sales in North Carolina, and as such, no official data indicating the economic impact of legal cannabis in Wake County.
Cannabis is illegal in Wake County. Nevertheless, crime data published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reveals that the Wake County Sheriff's Office made 54 arrests for marijuana possession offenses and 31 arrests for cannabis sales in 2014, the year preceding cannabis legalization for intractable epilepsy treatment. In 2015, the Wake County Sheriff's Office recorded four arrests for cannabis possession offenses and one for cannabis sale. These numbers increased to 51 cannabis possession arrests and 27 cannabis sales arrests in 2016.
By 2019, cannabis possession arrest figures in Wake County increased to 92 while arrests for marijuana sales-related offenses decreased to 15. These numbers declined to 24 cannabis possession arrests and four cannabis sales arrests in 2020. Also, the Wake County Sheriff's Office made 483 arrests for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses in 2014 and 491 DUI arrests in 2015. The numbers decreased to 353 DUI arrests in 2016, 94 arrests in 2019, and 88 arrests in 2020. These data reveal that the number of arrests for DUI offenses in Wake County began to decrease one year after marijuana was approved for intractable epilepsy treatment. However, arrest figures for marijuana-related offenses in Wake County did not follow a specific trend after House Bill 766 was signed into law.