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With views on the use of weed constantly changing, it can be difficult to know whether a state has legalized weed or if it is still illegal. No one wants to be on the wrong side of the law. Accidentally.
Staying within the state laws is the best way to ensure you avoid fines and potential jail time.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know regarding the legality of weed in North Carolina. From who can purchase marijuana, how much one person can purchase, and the consequences of not following the law!
Is Weed Legal In North Carolina?
So, is weed legal in North Carolina? Well, no. However, there are discussions about legalizing weed for public consumption.
Late in January 2023, Republican state senator Bill Rabon reintroduced a medical marijuana legalization bill that, if approved, would permit people with a variety of qualifying conditions, such as cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and epilepsy, among others, to purchase and possess cannabis from authorized dispensaries.
A similar bill was filed the previous year which was declined. However, the current discussions are showing hope that the bill will be moved and weed will be legalized in North Carolina.
The state’s initial plans call for the approval of 10 licenses that are vertically integrated and can each accommodate up to eight dispensaries, or 80 doors total.
In the past, thriving operators have emerged from a model of restricted license counts coupled with a small number of medical problems and a healthy market.
Is weed legal in South Carolina?
Medicinal Cannabis In North Carolina
In February of 2023, the North Carolina Senate agreed to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. While this is a step in the right direction, there are various strict restrictions on the purchasing and consumption of medicinal cannabis.
The “Compassionate Care Act,” Senate Bill 3, would legalize the use of medical marijuana throughout the state for those suffering from conditions like cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others. Chronic pain is not one of those, and using the substance recreationally is not permitted.
While the details of the restrictions are still very much under scrutiny, it has been documented that only those permitted to the purchasing and consumption of medicinal cannabis would be patients with:
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Those without verification of a debilitating medical condition and a doctor’s prescription will be refused the sale of cannabis in licensed dispensaries.
Smoking and vaping would still be permitted, but doctors would still have to give their patients specific instructions for delivery and dosing. Also, they would have to reassess the program’s eligibility for patients at least once a year.
The proposed law would allow up to 10 medical marijuana suppliers to oversee the production and distribution of cannabis. Eight dispensaries can be run by each supplier. That is twice the dispensary cap that was specified in the previous iteration.
Where Can You Purchase Medicinal Cannabis In North Carolina?
With the decriminalization of cannabis being so new to the state of North Carolina, there are currently no licensed dispensaries.
This means that medicinal cannabis patients must purchase their weed in another state which accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
The closest dispensary for many medical cannabis patients is in Pennsylvania. This can be a rather long trip, especially for patients in serious pain or critical condition.
It may be some time before dispensaries are licensed and able to legally provide weed to the residents of North Carolina.
Where Can Weed Be Consumed In North Carolina?
While weed has been decriminalized in North Carolina for medicinal use, it is still best to consume marijuana in private.
In all states with medicinal marijuana programs, marijuana use is not permitted in federal buildings or on federal property, at work, or in areas where minors are likely to be present (e.g. schools, and playgrounds).
It is recommended to smoke marijuana in your house alone, in seclusion.
If you do not have a medicinal cannabis card to prove that you are eligible for medicinal cannabis use, and you are identified to be consuming weed in public, you may find yourself in a lot of trouble.
It is best to keep your consumption of medicinal cannabis in the privacy of your own home.
Medical Marijuana Card
Patients who qualify for medicinal cannabis will require a Medical Marijuana Card in order to be permitted the purchase of weed.
To get your North Carolina marijuana card, you must make an appointment with a licensed medical marijuana doctor if you have a qualifying ailment.
You and the doctor will talk about your health issues and previous treatments throughout the appointment. Prior to your visit, you must get medical records proving your qualifying condition.
You will obtain a certified certification from the North Carolina Medical Marijuana Doctor recommending medical marijuana products as part of your treatment plan if they are able to verify your qualifying condition and decide medical marijuana is an appropriate therapy option.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will then receive this signed suggestion and an annual registration fee. The state’s registration fee is your responsibility.
You will be added to the patient registry after you have paid your fee and the state has obtained your marijuana doctor’s certification. You will receive your North Carolina medical marijuana card in the mail following submission (or via email).
While North Carolina is now taking the right steps to make the consumption and possession of weed safe and legal, there is still a long way to go.
For those hoping to consume weed for recreational use, you may find yourself falling short. And in a heap of trouble if you are noticed by a police officer.
In the state of North Carolina, only those with a debilitating illness are able to possess and consume the prescribed amount of medicinal cannabis. Anyone else will face hefty fines, a possible jail sentence, and a criminal record.
Remember, if you are consuming cannabis legally, keep it private!
Learn more about weed laws in the Southeast and legal status of cannabis in neighboring states.
- Is weed legal in Georgia?
- Is weed legal in South Carolina?
- Is weed legal in Tennessee?
- Is weed legal in Virginia?
I’m an avid gardener and cannabis enthusiast. You can usually find me in my garden caring for my plants or at my computer crafting helpful blogs for my readers.