Marijuana Laws in North Carolina: A Resource for Residents

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Is there more than one way for police to charge a person with DWI?”


Ask any American who was alive a generation ago or longer, and they will confirm what is apparent: The United States’ stances on marijuana possession and use are changing drastically.  While a criminal defense attorney may have once worked with a client on a serious marijuana possession charge at the felony level, this same charge today may be significantly less severe due to the nation’s changing attitudes on the drug.


pipe-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-defense-lawyer-300x199Laws regarding the legality of marijuana are determined at the state level. While some states have legalized marijuana for medical use and other states have legalized the drug outright, other states still technically consider marijuana to be an illegal substance. While North Carolina falls into the latter category, the current laws surrounding the drug are not as severe as they have been historically.


When a North Carolina resident is charged with possession of marijuana in their state, communication and collaboration with an experienced criminal defense attorney in their area is always the best action to take. However, there are some general points of reference regarding North Carolina’s marijuana laws that all residents and visitors alike should know.


Penalties for Marijuana Possession in North Carolina


In North Carolina, laws regarding the possession of Marijuana are included under the state’s North Carolina Controlled Substances Act. For individuals charged with less than a half-ounce of marijuana, the charge is considered a misdemeanor and carries a $200 fine.


For possession of anywhere between a half-ounce to 1.5 oz of the drug, the penalties increase substantially; defendants face between one and 45 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. For possession anywhere between 1.5 oz and 10 lbs, the charge is considered a felony with between three and eight months in jail and a $1,000 fine.


Penalties for the Sale or Trafficking of Marijuana in North Carolina


For defendants charged with intent to sell any amount of marijuana over five grams, the charge is classified as a Class I felony. The charges for trafficking, however, are even more severe.  Defendants accused of trafficking between 10-50 lbs face a Class H felony with between 25-30 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.


Trafficked quantities between 50-2,000 lbs are considered a Class G felony and defendants face between 35-42 months in jail and/or a $25,000 fine. Quantities between 2,000 to 10,000 lbs face a Class F felony with between 70-84 months in jail and/or a $50,000 fine. For trafficked amounts over 10,000 lbs, the charge is considered a Class D felony with between 175-219 months in jail and/or a fine of $200,000.


When to Call an Attorney


As readers can surmise from this article, the penalties for marijuana in North Carolina vary substantially based on the amount involved and the intended action defendants had in mind regarding the drug. Defendants who can prove they only intended to use the drug for their own recreational use may face substantially lessened charges compared to those accused of the intent to sell and/or traffic the drug.


For years, the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have been helping residents in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina navigate the logistics of their marijuana case. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.





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