North Carolina

Is weed legal in North Carolina?

No. Both medical and adult-use marijuana are illegal in the state. CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight is allowed for patients with intractable epilepsy. It's only legal to possess it in the state; patients and caregivers must obtain it outside state lines.

A first offense of possession of 0.5 ounce of cannabis or less or 0.2 ounce of hash or less is a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $200. Larger amounts and subsequent offenses may carry more severe penalties. 

Legislative history

Gov. Pat McCrory signed HB 1220, the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, into law in 2014. HB 1220 granted access to low-THC hemp extract to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.

In July 2015, HB 1220 was amended by HB 766, which increased the allowed amount of THC from 0.3% to 0.9% and decreased the required CBD amount from 10% to 5%. It also expanded the number of qualified physicians, increased the number of certified hospitals, and removed the requirement that patients be children. 

Where is it safe to purchase weed in North Carolina?

North Carolina does not have a state-regulated supply chain or any other state-sponsored method of obtaining hemp oil extract. Caregivers must purchase hemp oil extract in a state that offers reciprocity. 

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

North Carolina has not placed limits or restrictions on patient consumption.

Is home cultivation allowed in North Carolina?

The DHHS forbids the cultivation of cannabis or the production of hemp oil extract for any reason within North Carolina.

Medical CBD program

North Carolina allows patients with intractable epilepsy and their caregivers to possess and consume CBD extract with less than 0.9% THC and at least 5% CBD by weight. The patients must be diagnosed by and have a written statement from a state-licensed, board certified neurologist who is affiliated with the neurology department of a state-licensed hospital. 

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for regulatory oversight of the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act program, and for enrolling registered patients and caregivers in the program. Patients must appoint a caregiver to obtain the extract. No registry card is required for patients. There is no minimum age for patients who can participate in the program, though caregivers must be at least 18 years old.

Caregiver requirements

Though the law no longer requires that patients be children, it specifies that only caregivers are allowed to possess CBD extract. Caregivers must be at least 18 years old and must be a permanent resident of North Carolina. Only a parent, legal guardian, or custodian of a person with intractable epilepsy is eligible to be a registered caregiver.

Once all materials have been submitted, and the application has been processed, caregivers will receive a letter from the DHHS authorizing their approval. Caregivers must carry this letter with them when in possession of hemp extract within North Carolina. They must also carry or keep near the CBD extract a certificate of analysis for the extract that shows it meets the state's standards. 

Application process

  1. Obtain a written statement from a state-licensed neurologist affiliated with a state-licensed hospital.
  2. Submit a valid North Carolina ID card or driver's license to show proof of age and residency.
  3. Complete and submit a written caregiver's application.

Lab testing

There is currently no lab testing required by the state.

Frequently asked questions

How long before medical marijuana is legal in North Carolina?

While we can't predict the future, we do know that North Carolinans can't petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot. Any path to legalize marijuana would have to go through the state legislature. 

What would it take to make weed legal in NC? 

Unlike in other states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use, North Carolina residents can't petition to get an medical marijuana initiative added to the ballot.

What agency in NC enforces marijuana laws?

Marijuana enforcement happens at the local level. City police officers or county sheriffs typically make marijuana arrests though state highway patrol officers (troopers) may also arrest people suspected of possession, consumption, or trafficking. After arrest, trials usually take place in local courts. 

What are the laws on the cultivation of marijuana in North Carolina?

Marijuana is illegal in North Carolina so cultivation is also illegal. Farmers can grow hemp with less than 0.3% THC if they are licensed by the state Department of Agriculture.

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

This page was last updated November 11, 2020.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on February 1, 2021.