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North Carolina Lawmakers Once Again Attempt to Legalize Weed

Marijuana legalization efforts in North Carolina span all the way back to the 1970s. For a brief period in 1977, the state decriminalized possession in small quantities, and even an ounce led only to a misdemeanor marijuana charge in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State never again returned to these policies, although various lawmakers have spent the past decades pushing for something similar. It started in 2014 with the introduction of a medical marijuana bill. When that bill died, the state was forced to wait until 2021 for a second attempt. Once again, the bill failed to pass the House. Two years later, the Senate tried for a third time – with no success. In June of 2024, the Senate approved the “NC Compassionate Care Act.” Could this finally be the moment marijuana activists have been waiting for?


Will the House Pass North Carolina’s Latest Legalization Effort?


The die has been cast. With approval from the Senate, the bill will now to the House – the same body that has repeatedly killed legalization efforts in the past. But could things be different this time? That’s the question on everyone’s minds. 


States that have yet to implement legalization efforts face growing pressure, as many of their peers have done so over the past few years. North Carolina itself is now home to a legal dispensary on Native land – perhaps making further fights against legalization even more pointless. With a functioning dispensary within driving distance, lawmakers may see the writing on the wall – and they might decide that it is time to throw in the towel. 


The NC Compassionate Care Act Explained


As its title implies, the NC Compassionate Care Act is about treatment rather than recreational use. The bill would only legalize marijuana for patients who have debilitating conditions. Recreational use would remain illegal.


The bill also contains additional regulations on legal hemp products. These products are now legal on a federal level as long as they have less than 0.3% THC. For years, North Carolina has taken guidance from the federal government when it comes to marijuana legislation – something that Senators freely admit. One of these North Carolina Senators stated that this bill was, in part, a reaction to the federal government’s plan to reclassify marijuana as a minor Schedule III drug. 


The House has yet to announce whether it plans to pass the bill. However, new developments in both the state and the federal government could finally make the difference. 


Find an Experienced Marijuana Defense Lawyer in North Carolina


If you are facing marijuana charges in North Carolina, it makes sense to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Choose Coastal South Law – and get started with an experienced defense attorney who is familiar with weed laws in the Tar Heel State. While marijuana penalties are still somewhat harsh in North Carolina compared to other states, you have every right to fight your charges. Book a consultation today to assess the most appropriate defense strategy. 

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