Possession and Distribution of Marijuana Charges in Raleigh, North Carolina

Marijuana charges in North Carolina are categorized by the quantity someone possesses and whether that person is suspected of distributing even a small portion. There is little doubt that North Carolina is behind the curve on our nation’s progressive approach to legalization, and the vast majority of drug charges in this state are for minor possession of marijuana. Legal scholars do not see our state’s marijuana policy changing anytime soon, therefore it is important for our citizens to understand the ramifications for being charged with certain drug offenses.

What are the different possible marijuana possession charges in North Carolina?

North Carolina law assigns these possible punishments for marijuana possession:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor for possession of a 1/2 ounces or less, a fine up to $200 or 30 days in jail or both (the possibility of jail is very low and depends on someone’s prior record)
  • Class 1 misdemeanor for possession of 1/2 ounces to 1 1/2 ounces, a fine up to $500 or up to 120 days in jail or both
  • Class I felony for possession of more than 1 1/2 ounces up to 10 pounds, a fine up to $1000 or up to eight months in jail or both

What are the different possible punishments for selling or delivering marijuana in North Carolina?

Being suspected of transferring marijuana to another person can result in a charge of sale or delivery. Sale or delivery of marijuana is a felony in North Carolina. If a person exchanges even a small amount of marijuana for some other property, this activity will be classified as a “sale”. If someone delivers more than 5 grams to someone else, even if no property is exchanged, this activity will be classified as a “delivery”. If the amount is less than 5 grams a person can only be charged with possession and not delivery.

North Carolina law assigns these possible punishments for marijuana sale or distribution:

  • Class I felony for distribution, but only if the amount is over 5 grams and property or money is given in exchange
  • Class H felony for the sale or distribution of 10 to 50 pounds, fines up to $5,000 and 25 to 39 months in prison
  • Class G felony for the sale or distribution of 50 to 2,000 pounds, fines up to $25,000 and 35 to 51 months in prison
  • Class F felony for the sale or distribution of 2,000 pounds up to 10,000, fines up to $50,000 and 70 to 93 months in prison
  • Class D felony for the sale or distribution of over 10,000 pounds, fines up to $200,000 and 175 to 222 months in prison

The sale, and/or distribution of an amount of marijuana over 10 pounds is considered trafficking. The severity of the possible punishments for trafficking are apparent from the above information. Trafficking also applies to the possession of marijuana in these amounts.

What is the possible punishment for growing marijuana in North Carolina?

If a person is charged with cultivating marijuana, they will possible face a more serious punishment that if they had simply possessed it. Cultivation of marijuana is classified as a Class I felony in North Carolina if the amount is 10 pounds or less, with fines up to $1000 and 3-8 months of jail time. If the amount is above 10 pounds, a person can be charged with trafficking. Unfortunately, police officers use a wide range of different techniques in weighing potted marijuana; some agencies may include the rootball and soil in their determination of weight.

Are there any other factors that may increase the severity of a marijuana charge in North Carolina?

Punishments for marijuana possession, sale, delivery, and growing may become more severe if certain facts are present in the case. If a sale or delivery of marijuana was made to minor or pregnant woman, the punishment could potentially to 38-80 months. If the minor is under 13, the punishment could possibly increase to 44-92 months. Significant punishment increases also apply if the drug activity involves a minor in the sale or distribution or if the activity happens in close proximity to a school.

One factor unrelated to a case that may have a significant impact on a possible punishment is the suspect’s prior criminal record. North Carolina uses structured sentencing to determine the appropriate punishment level in the majority of felony drug cases. The length and severity of a person’s criminal history plays the largest part in how much jail time they will possibly face.

Steven Saad is a Raleigh and Wake County criminal defense attorney with years of legal experience as both a defender of the accused and a former Wake County prosecutor. He is passionate about representing the people of his community that are accused of crimes and have unfortunately found themselves in our criminal system. Obtaining the best possible results in his clients’ cases is Steven’s only motivation.

During his years as a Wake County District Attorney, Steven prosecuted tens of thousands of criminal cases, giving him unparalleled insight into the criminal court process in Wake County. He thrives on the fact that a case can be won or lost in the smallest details, making preparation and communication with clients throughout a case critical.

Don’t waste an opportunity to discuss your case with an experienced and effective defense attorney and former Wake County prosecutor. Contact us today.