North Carolina has partially decriminalized simple marijuana possession, and the drug is legal for limited, non-intoxicating medical uses. But any other possession, sale, delivery, or cultivation of the drug is a crime.
Possession of half an ounce of marijuana or less is a misdemeanor in North Carolina but does not carry potential jail time. At most a $200 fine may be imposed.
Possession of between half an ounce and 1.5 ounces is likewise a misdemeanor and is punishable by a minimum sentence of one day in jail and a maximum of 45 days, plus up to $1,000 in fines. Possession of between 1.5 ounces and 10 pounds is a felony punishable by at least three months in jail, as many as eight, and up to $1,000.
Possession of any amount greater than 10 pounds is automatically treated as possession with intent to distribute, a felony. But possession with intent can be charged for smaller amounts: The minimum penalty for possession of less than 10 pounds with intent is three months in jail, while the maximum is eight months and $1,000.
A penalty of between 25 and 39 months imprisonment, plus a fine of at least $5,000, applies to possession of between 10 and 50 pounds with intent. If the amount is between 50 and 2,000 pounds, a prison term of between 35 and 51 months applies, along with up to $25,000 in fines.
Possession of between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds with intent is punishable by at least 70 months in prison, as many as 93 months, and up to $50,000 in fines. For weights of 10,000 pounds or more, the minimum penalty is 175 months in prison, the maximum is 222 months, and there is a potential fine of $200,000.
Sale or Delivery
Any sale or delivery of cannabis is a felony in North Carolina. For amounts less than 10 pounds, the punishment is at least four months in jail and as many as eight, plus $1,000 in fines.
Sale or delivery of 10 to 50 pounds is punishable by at least 25 months in prison, as many as 39 months, and up to $5,000 in fines. For weights of between 50 and 2,000 pounds, the minimum penalty is 35 months in prison, the maximum is 51 months, and fines can total $25,000.
In cases involving between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds, a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months in prison applies, along with a maximum of 93 months and a fine of up to $50,000. For weight above 10,000 pounds, the sentence includes at least 175 months in prison, as many as 222 months, and a top fine of $200,000.
Selling or delivering marijuana to a minor or a pregnant woman is punishable by between three and eight years in prison. Sale or delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, child care center, or public park carries a minimum penalty of one year in jail and a maximum of three years in prison.
It is a felony to grow any amount of cannabis in North Carolina for any reason. Penalties for growing less than 10 pounds range between three and eight months in jail, along with up to $1,000 in fines.
If the amount is between 10 and 50 pounds, the minimum penalty increases to two years in prison, the maximum to 2.5 years, and the potential fine to $5,000. Cultivation of between 50 and 2,000 pounds is punishable by between three and 3.5 years in prison and up to $25,000.
Growing between 2,000 and 10,000 pounds carries a mandatory minimum penalty of six years in prison, a maximum of seven years, and a top fine of $50,000. For weights of 10,000 pounds or more, the minimum is 14.5 years in prison, the maximum is 18 years, and the fine can reach $200,000.
Hash and Concentrates
Special rules apply to offenses involving hashish or other marijuana concentrates. Possession of less than 0.05 ounces is a misdemeanor and comes with a punishment of at least one day in jail and as many as 10 days, plus a $200 fine.
Possession of between 0.05 and 0.15 ounces of concentrate is also a misdemeanor and is punishable by at least one day in jail, as many as 45 days, and $200. Possession of more than 0.15 ounces is a felony with a minimum term of four months in jail, a maximum of six months, and a potential fine of $200.
Marijuana paraphernalia is illegal in North Carolina unless intended, marketed, and used solely for legal purposes. Paraphernalia includes any items used, or intended for use, in the manufacture, cultivation, harvesting, processing, testing, analysis or consumption of marijuana.
Possession, sale, delivery or manufacture of marijuana paraphernalia are misdemeanors punishable by between one and 45 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. If the paraphernalia is sold to a minor who is at least three years younger than the seller, the jail term is between three and eight months.
Any marijuana crime involving a minor is a felony and is punishable by at least eight months in jail and as many as seven years in prison. Possession of cannabis while incarcerated is a felony with a penalty of between four and eight months additional imprisonment.