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Will North Carolina Legalize Marijuana for Medical or Recreational Use?

 Posted on June 09, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Raleigh Marijuana Charges LawyersMarijuana has been used for centuries by people around the world. Even though it has been found to be less harmful than legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco, and it also has a variety of medical benefits, it has been classified as an illegal controlled substance. Because of this, many people have been charged with drug crimes related to the possession or distribution of marijuana. However, attitudes surrounding marijuana use have been changing, and in many parts of the United States, it has been legalized for medical and recreational purposes. In the future, North Carolina could follow the example of other states and approve the drug for legal use in the state.

New Marijuana Laws Introduced by North Carolina Lawmakers

Several bills have recently been introduced in the North Carolina state legislature that could legalize marijuana possession and use by adults. House Bill 626 would allow people over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, 15 grams of concentrated cannabis, products containing up to 2,000 milligrams of THC, or six cannabis plants. It would also allow for the sale and on-site consumption of marijuana at licensed businesses, and it would provide automatic expungement of criminal records for those who were convicted of marijuana offenses that would no longer be crimes following the passage of the law. This bill is currently being considered by North Carolina House of Representatives committees.

Senate Bill 346 would make similar changes to North Carolina law. It contains the same provisions for the amount of marijuana adults would be able to possess, as well as automatic expungement of previous marijuana offenses and the prohibition of driving while under the influence of marijuana. However, it would also allow for the use of medical marijuana by people who receive registry identification cards after being certified by a doctor as having a condition that could benefit from the use of cannabis. This bill is currently being considered by the North Carolina Senate committees.

A separate bill is also pending that would legalize medical marijuana in North Carolina. Senate Bill 3 would allow patients with certain debilitating medical conditions to receive prescriptions for marijuana, and they would be protected from prosecution for possessing an adequate supply of medical marijuana. Qualifying conditions would include cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and terminal illnesses with a life expectancy of less than six months. This bill has been passed by the North Carolina Senate, and it is currently being considered by House of Representatives committees.

Current Marijuana Laws in North Carolina

While the laws may change in the future, marijuana is still considered to be an illegal drug in North Carolina. Possession of less than one-half of an ounce is a Class 3 misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in a $200 fine. Possession of between 0.5 and 1.5 ounces is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can lead to a sentence of up to 45 days in jail and a fine that may be set at the discretion of the court. Possession of more than one and one-half ounces is a Class I felony, and a person will usually be sentenced to between four and six months in jail, although longer or shorter sentences may be appropriate based on mitigating or aggravating circumstances and a person's previous criminal record.

Contact Our Raleigh Marijuana Charges Lawyers

While marijuana legalization may be on the horizon in North Carolina, there are still many situations where people may face criminal charges based on their possession or use of this drug. At Vasquez Law Firm, PLLC, our Charlotte marijuana crimes defense attorneys can provide representation in these types of cases, and we can help defend against a conviction and determine the best options for resolving these matters successfully. Contact our firm at 1-844-YO-PELEO to set up a free consultation today.

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