North Carolina marijuana legalization

An Update on North Carolina Marijuana Legalization Legislation

The anticipation surrounding the possibility of North Carolina marijuana legalization this year has been met with a stumbling block as the legislation encounters a standstill in the ongoing General Assembly session. House Speaker Tim Moore pointed out that the resistance from many fellow Republicans within his chamber has essentially halted progress for the remainder of this year.

Having navigated the Senate with ease, a bill that aimed to establish a structured approach enabling patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses to legitimately acquire and use cannabis is now on hold in the House, where it has remained dormant for the past four months, aside from a single committee hearing held in early June. Though a poll conducted by Elon University found that 73% of North Carolinians support medical cannabis, they may have to wait until next year for a chance to legalize. 

Proposed North Carolina Marijuana Legalization Legislation

Multiple bills have stalled that would have legalized and established the regulatory framework essential for medical marijuana and/or recreational cannabis initiatives in North Carolina. While still on the table, it is unlikely that these bills will progress further.

The proposed SB 346 for recreational cannabis would not only include expungement of prior marijuana-related convictions but also emphasize the incorporation of social equity within the new cannabis marketplace. This bill would grant individuals aged 21 and above the permission to buy, possess, and consume up to two ounces of cannabis flower, up to 2000mg of cannabis packaged items, and 15 grams of concentrated cannabis. Local residents would also have the ability to home-grow up to 6 plants. 

Concurrently, a distinct medical cannabis bill, SB 3, would legalize cannabis for patients grappling with debilitating medical conditions, encompassing cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and PTSD. The bill outlines the establishment of a Compassionate Use Advisory Board, vested with the authority to incorporate new qualifying conditions as North Carolina’s medical marijuana program evolves. Also known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, this bill would establish a medical cannabis initiative that aligns with the practices of other states that have already implemented similar programs for the benefit of North Carolina’s residents.

Current North Carolina Cannabis Laws

In North Carolina, cannabis continues to be illegal, except for a highly restricted medical program permitting the use of low-THC oil by patients with intractable epilepsy. Under current law, these patients are allowed to have and utilize hemp extracts containing a THC content lower than 0.9% and a CBD content of at least 5%, and any CBD derived from marijuana still remains illegal. 

Under the existing state regulations, even having less than 0.5 ounces of cannabis could result in a $200 fine. Additionally, possessing over 1.5 ounces up to 10 pounds of cannabis could lead to a felony offense, carrying a potential imprisonment duration of 3 to 8 months, the specifics varying based on the nature of the charge.

While numerous bills proposing the legalization of medical marijuana and/or recreational cannabis in North Carolina have been introduced, none have successfully passed. Nevertheless, there persists a bipartisan drive to expand access to cannabis for the people of North Carolina. Though progress has been gradual, it is likely that North Carolina cannabis legalization legislation will pass in the future – though it may not be in 2023. 

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The team of cannabis consultants and professionals at Point Seven Group have worked extensively in the U.S. and international cannabis markets and are familiar with the unique challenges of the cannabis industry. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with more cannabis industry updates!

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