Marijuana is the most widely used and widely available illicit drug in North Carolina. This results in more people being arrested for possession of marijuana. The drug is so widely used that North Carolina jails became bogged down with inmates serving time for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Thankfully, North Carolina has taken steps to lessen the charges for possession of small amounts of the drug and possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Instead of spending months in jail, the crime may be punishable by a fine. This does not mean you should not contact legal representation to represent you in court. You may be tempted to handle the charges on your own, but the risk of doing so outweighs the cost of hiring a defense attorney.
You can rest assured your case will be handled with diligence at the Coolidge Law Firm. Exercise your right to legal counsel and contact us today. Call to schedule a free consultation. We will answer any questions you have about the legal process and formulate a defense plan in your best interest. The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients charged with drug crimes in Wake County communities such as Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Garner and Apex.
When is Marijuana Possession a Misdemeanor in NC?
Marijuana may be decriminalized in various states and fully legal in others, but the drug remains illegal for recreational use in North Carolina. Marijuana is classified as a schedule VI substance in the state. This means the drug has no accepted medical use but has a relatively low potential for abuse.
This classification is different from just about every jurisdiction in the United States, including the federal level. The United States government classifies the drug as a schedule I substance, as do most states where marijuana is illegal. They believe marijuana has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
The state may classify the drug on the lowest level in the North Carolina Controlled Substance Act, but you will still suffer consequences if you are found in possession of the drug. Possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana is a class 3 misdemeanor. The crime is typically punishable by a fine of up to $200, but depending on previous convictions, it can also be punished with up to 20 days in jail.
Possessing more than half an ounce, but less than one and a half ounces is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by one to 120 days in jail depending on previous convictions.
Possession of Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia
A crime commonly charged alongside misdemeanor possession is possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Paraphernalia commonly associated with marijuana use includes pipes, bongs, rolling papers, and grinders. Possessing these objects is not charged as harshly as possessing paraphernalia used for other drugs such as meth or heroin.
When an officer is determining whether or not the paraphernalia is used to consume drugs, they will consider the context of the object. This can include the proximity of the object to the drug or if there is any marijuana residue on the paraphernalia.
Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a class 3 misdemeanor typically punished by a fine but can land you in jail for up to 20 days depending on previous convictions.
When is Marijuana Possession a Felony in NC?
Just because North Carolina has taken steps to loosen penalties for possession of marijuana doesn’t mean you can possess any amount you please. Possessing marijuana becomes a felony in the following situations:
- More than one and a half ounces of the plant’s buds
- Three-twentieths of an ounce of hashish or other marijuana extracts
- Any amount of synthetic THC (Spice, K2)
It‘s a class I felony to possess any of the mentioned amounts. A class I felony is punishable by three to 12 months behind bars depending on criminal history.
Additional Resources for Misdemeanor Possession
Violations and Penalties | North Carolina Controlled Substance Act – Follow this link to read the section of the state’s Controlled Substance Act governing penalties for possession of marijuana. You can also learn more about the penalties for possessing other controlled substances such as LSD, cocaine, and heroin.
North Carolina Controlled Substance Act – Read through the state’s Controlled Substance Act to learn about how certain drugs are classified.
Raleigh Marijuana Defense Lawyer
Misdemeanor marijuana charges may not seem like a big deal, but conviction of the crime will still be on your criminal record. If you were arrested for or charged with the crime, contact the Coolidge Law Firm immediately. We are passionate about the cause and will fight for your rights.
The Coolidge Law Firm defends clients charged with drug crimes in communities across Wake County including Wake Forest, Cary, Raleigh, Garner, Apex, and many others. We’d love to speak with you more about your case. Call (919) 239-8448 to schedule a free consultation or submit your information in the contact form below.