Tag Archives: north carolina

HB 185 – North Carolina’s Medical Cannabis Bill (2017)

North Carolina’s annual Medical Cannabis Bill  was introduced February 22, 2017.

UPDATE: North Carolina’s Senate introduced a companion medical cannabis bill, SB579. This senate bill marks the first time there have been medical cannabis bills alive in both chambers of the General Assembly.

UPDATE 2: SB 648 – Legalize Medical Marijuana was filed on 4/4 sponsors Van Duyn and Foushee, co-sponsors Smith Ingram and Waddell.

When HB185 was filed there were 12 sponsors and co-sponsors.

Sponsors include:

  • Kelly M. Alexander, Jr. (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Rebecca Carney (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford),
  • Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg)

Co-sponsors include:

  • John Ager (D – Buncombe)
  • John Autry (D-Mecklenburg)
  • Carla Cunningham (D -Mecklenburg)
  • Susan C. Fisher (D – Buncombe)
  • Edward Hanes, Jr. (D-Forsyth)
  • Yvonne Lewis Holley (D – Wake)
  • Philip A. Lehman (Durham)
  • Brian Turner (D – Buncombe).

If you have not contacted your representative about supporting this bill, please do so.

Find out who your representative is here.

Find out how to persuade your representative over time here.

If you do not agree with the laws, please do your part to change them. At a minimum, advocates should know who their congress members are and how they stand on the issue.


NC Support for Medical Marijuana at All Time High – 2016

image_doctor marijuana leaf.001

Almost 3 in 4 North Carolinians support doctors’ rights to recommend medical marijuana to patients in need.

According to an April 2016 Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina 74% of the state is now in favor of allowing doctors to discuss medical marijuana as a source of treatment.

The poll was conducted April 22, 2016 and surveyed 960 North Carolina voters regarding their views on cannabis legalization. The results showed that 18% of the state is against giving doctors the right to recommend medical marijuana and 8% are still undecided.

Those randomly selected for the survey were asked, “Do you think doctors should be allowed to recommend marijuana for medical use, or not?”

The survey was conducted the weekend before House Bill 983, titled “Legalize and Tax Medical Marijuana“, was introduced. If passed, the new law would protect people with severe diseases and specific medical conditions from arrest and prosecution. The bill also sets up guidelines for paying taxes on marijuana as a function of THC content.

Federally, cannabis has been a Schedule I controlled substance since 1970. Schedule I substances are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

Fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32% of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do. There have been no deaths from marijuana overdose or chronic use according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The National Cancer Institute (the U.S. government’s branch of cancer research) now recognizes marijuana has cancer cell killing properties.

HB 983 – North Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Bill (2016)

North Carolina’s newest Medical Marijuana bill is making its way through House subcommittees. It is titled “Legalize and Tax Medical Marijuana”.

On April 26, 2016 Rep. Kelly Alexander introduced HB 983. This bill, if passed, would make it legal for patients to possess marijuana for personal use. This bill currently has a total of 12 sponsors – 11 Democrats and one Republican.

This year’s medical marijuana bill protects patients who are in possession of cannabis. Medical marijuana would be legal to have if a patient has documentation from a licensed physician and has paid all applicable taxes.

There are no provisions for growing or buying medical marijuana from a dispensary with this bill.

Here are the basics of HB 983…

Qualifying Criteria to possess marijuana with THC legally in North Carolina:

  • Patient must be diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness
  • Patients must have a physician’s written recommendation for the patient to use cannabis to treat the disease’s underlying symptoms
  • Patients must purchase a Marijuana Tax Stamp from the NC Department of Revenue (Note: Marijuana tax stamps are already available for purchase today.)
  • Marijuana must only be for the patient’s personal use.
  • No more than three ounces of marijuana may be possessed at a given time.


Taxation Rates

  • Marijuana stalks and stems are taxed at a rate of $8.00 per ounce
  • Plus an additional…
    • $7.08 per ounce, if the marijuana is less than 5% THC by weight
    • $14.15 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 5% and 10% THC
    • $21.24 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 10% and 15% THC
    • $28.32 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 15% and 20% THC
    • $35.40 per ounce, if the marijuana is between 20% and 25% THC
    • $42.48 per ounce, if the marijuana is great than 25% THC.

According to an April, 2016 Public Policy Polling survey, 74% of North Carolinians support a doctor’s right to recommend marijuana to patients who may benefit from the plant.

Everyone in North Carolina who has a personal need for medical cannabis or knows someone who has benefited from treating their conditions with cannabis are highly encouraged to contact their representatives. Medical marijuana bills have not gained much traction in the North Carolina General Assembly. Through polling of representatives, the reason all previous medical marijuana bills have failed is largely due to the fact that our legislators do not know cannabis is safe and effective. They need to be informed.

Please contact your representative to encourage him or her to co-sponsor HB 983. If you don’t know who your representative is, read this article….



If you already know who represents you in state congress, the following is a guide for reaching out and encouraging them to support this bill.

If you do not agree with the laws, do your part to change them.

Industrial Hemp now Legal in North Carolina


North Carolina passed a law allowing for the regulated cultivation of industrial hemp October 31, 2015. Once a commission created by SB313 establishes the guidelines for the hemp program, landowners will be allowed to produce and harvest cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC. (THC is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that creates mild euphoria.) The NC Department of Agriculture will be responsible for issuing licenses and distributing seeds to registered farmers. The law does not dictate a deadline for the commission to implement the industrial hemp program.

In the House, Republicans Dean Arp, Rick Catlin, Jimmy Dixon, Josh Dobson, Pat Hurley, Michele Presnell, and Rena Turner voted against the bill; no Democratic representatives voted No. In the Senate, only Republican Andrew Brock and Democrat Don Davis voted against the bill. The bill became law on October 31, 2015 without the signature of Pat McCrory. Per Governor McCrory:

“After discussion with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, I have decided to allow Senate Bill 313 to become law without my signature. Despite the bill’s good intentions, there are legitimate concerns I would like to address… The legislation tasks a new commission to establish from the ground up a regulatory structure to reintroduce a crop to North Carolina. Although there is a clear intent to ensure this program supports agriculture and research goals, a strong regulatory framework to safeguard against abuse is critical to its success and the safety of North Carolinians.”

Industrial hemp will give North Carolina farmers another valuable cash crop to add to their repertoire, and could replace crops that have lost value in recent years, like tobacco. For those concerned, hemp is very different than marijuana, containing less than 0.3% THC, so it would be impossible to get “high” from industrial hemp. Various parts of the plant can be used in the manufacture of more than 25,000 products. The leaves and flowers can be used to make CBD medicines for patients with intractable epilepsy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, cancer, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and sickle cell disease (in NC, CBD extracts are permitted only for patients with intractable epilepsy). The oil and seeds have high amounts of omega fatty acids, which help improve cholesterol levels and lower the risks of heart disease.

Hemp is a source of very strong natural fiber and highly nutritional seeds. The fiber is used in applications from paper to building products (such as Hempcrete) and the seeds are used for oil production and consumption. The core of the plant is highly absorbent, and can be used to absorb oil spills and to maintain the seals on water, gas and oil drills.

The Bill would set up a Hemp Commission consisting of 5 members. These members include the Commissioner of Agriculture or a designee, an appointed municipal chief of police, an elected sheriff, a faculty member of a state university who teaches Ag science, and a full time farmer with 10 years of experience. The commission will be in charge of setting up tracking and testing procedures and studying marketplace opportunities. Farmers will pay an annual fee of $250 + $2 per acre, with possible incentive provisions for small acreage to promote small farmers. NC State and NC A & T will have research programs since they currently have highly developed agriculture programs.

Hemp, Inc. is currently building a commercial size decortication facility in Spring Hope, NC in Nash County. This is the first of its size in the US and one of 5 in the world. This sets NC up for being a major player in the hemp industry.

Around the South – Progress on Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Legislation

Several Southern states have passed medical marijuana and industrial hemp bills. Others are on the cusp. Do you know which ones have already? Read on to determine where you or your family members may be traveling before you purchase that one-way ticket to Denver.


Industrial hemp

A bill legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp unanimously passed the Tennessee Senate April 9th. The Governor’s signature remains. Once Governor Haslam signs the bill, the Department of Agriculture will have three months to begin developing rules regarding the issuance of hemp seeds to farmers and regulating crops. Tennessee is about to become the 13th state to legalize industrial hemp in the U.S.

Medical Marijuana
The House and Senate have both passed a bill funding a four year study into the effects of CBD in treating epileptic seizures. While the Koozer-Kuhn bill, a broader medical marijuana bill similar to those that have passed in 21 other states, did not pass, Tennessee looks like it will join Alabama as another Southern state to pass a CBD-only bill once it gains the Governor’s signature.


Medical Marijuana
Governor Bentley signed Carly’s Law after the bill passed both chambers of state congress unanimously. Originally the bill’s success looked bleak, but a ground swell of public support strongly persuaded lawmakers to re-examine the issue. Carly’s Law legalizes the use of CBD-oil for medicinal use. The bill allows the University of Alabama at Birmingham UAB’s Department of Neurology to prescribe the oil for qualifying patients.


Medical Marijuana
The Peachtree state was almost the first Southern state to pass a medical marijuana bill. Even though the bill passed the House with only 4 nay votes, one senator effectively killed the bill when she added non-marijuana qualifiers that the rest of the Senate would not pass. Now the Governor is outlining options to import CBD-oils from GW Pharmaceuticals, a British company working on a CBD based product that will have FDA approval.



The state’s Attorney General has indicated that farmers will indeed be able to sell industrial hemp cultivated in Kentucky. There are no acreage restrictions on the amount of hemp a Kentucky farmer may grow. Kentucky is farther along the industrial hemp path than its Southern neighbors, so Tennessee farmers are able to see looming problems – how to obtain the seeds. Customs agents have already intercepted many seeds at the country’s borders and have been sending them back. The hope is to find a solution soon as hemp growing season begins the first week in May.


North Carolina
There are no new bills filed yet, but this blog post shows which cannabis related bills are still alive in North Carolina. Remember what happened in Alabama – the medical marijuana bill looked doomed, but once the people spoke up and demanded the state congress pass the legislation Alabama was turned into the first Southern state passing legislation explicitly allowing the use of marijuana based CBD-oil for medicinal use.

If enough people speak up across the state, North Carolina can also make a difference. NORML asks that you do your part and look into helping make North Carolina part of the national discussion.

Hemp Now Legal to Cultivate – but not in North Carolina


NOTE: Since the original publication of this article, North Carolina passed SB313 allowing for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. Read more about North Carolina’s status as a hemp producing state here.

A provision in the new $1.1 trillion U.S. Farm Bill allows for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp –  in states that allow it. Once the bill passes (and it is expected to pass at the time of this article), colleges and universities will be allowed to grow hemp for research. This addition to the farm bill suggests the country is ready for the conversation about the benefits of the cannabis sativa plant and the reason it has been illegal for decades.

Currently 11 states allow hemp cultivation. Those states with hemp-friendly laws are Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Vermont, Maine, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.

To underscore the readiness of this change, the American Farm Bureau Federation has formally approved a new policy urging the removal of hemp as a controlled substance. This adopted policy secures the most influential farm lobbying organization in the pro-hemp camp.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both part of the species of plant called Cannabis Sativa. Hemp is similar to marijuana with the exception that hemp contains no psychoactive chemicals that result in the characteristic “high” associated with marijuana. As of this writing hemp is illegal to grow at the national and state level, but is legal to import and process into textiles, paper, biofuels and food.

As North Carolina struggles with its lost textile manufacturing industry and the continued obsolescence of tobacco farms, allowing farmers the ability to cultivate hemp would make sense economically. A recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (and funded by NORML of North Carolina) shows nearly half of North Carolina voters believe farmers should be allowed to grow the crop.

There are no active bills regarding industrial hemp cultivation. The last time hemp was brought up in state congress was in 2005, when a bill was passed authorizing the study of industrial hemp. This bill went unfunded and was the last time North Carolina had a serious discussion about the benefits of industrial hemp.

The only way for North Carolina to change its laws is for people to let their representatives know how they feel about the hemp laws. North Carolina can not vote on new legislation through ballot initiatives. States like Colorado and Washington passed cannabis friendly laws by gathering enough signatures to put the decision to popular vote. This isn’t an option in North Carolina. Instead voters are dependent on their Representatives and Senators to pass appropriate legislation. Despite a strong percentage of North Carolina being in favor of legalizing marijuana and hemp, these bills have all been ignored and killed in the legislature.

NORML of North Carolina knows it is time for a change in laws, but the organization’s efforts are only as strong as its participants. Please consider being an advocate for the re-legalization of cannabis in North Carolina by joining NORML of North Carolina today.

Marijuana (Cannabis) support strengthens in North Carolina


More than four out of ten North Carolina voters believe cannabis should again be legal for adult purchase, and 63% say doctors should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis.

Public Policy Poll – North Carolina Marijuana Support – January 2014

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling this past weekend reveals that a strong majority of North Carolinians (63%) want doctors to have the right to authorize cannabis for medicinal use. Last year an identical January poll showed support for medical marijuana at 58%, an increase of five points. Regarding full legalization of the plant, support rose three percentage points (39% to 42%) from this time last year.

Polling results show 53% of North Carolinians think alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis, a view which is certainly supported by all available data. While only 12% see cannabis as being more dangerous, 23% believe the two as being equally dangerous and the rest are not sure.

According to a nationwide CNN poll last week, nearly 75% of Americans think alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis.

The state poll reached 1,384 North Carolina voters from January 9 – 12, 2014.

Regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp, nearly half of those polled believes North Carolina farmers should be allowed to grow the crop. The poll shows 48% support for farmers to have that right, and 18% are not sure. This is the first year a hemp-related question has been polled in North Carolina.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both part of the cannabis species of plant. Hemp is similar to marijuana with the exception that hemp (a) contains no psychoactive chemicals and (b) can’t be grown in close proximity to psychoactive cannabis without hurting its quality. According to federal law, hemp is currently illegal to grow but is legal to import and process into textiles, paper, biofuels and food.

Jon Kennedy, an officer with the state chapter of NORML, said the poll results confirm North Carolina is following the nationwide trend of increasing marijuana awareness. “The people of North Carolina are beginning to understand that marijuana is safer than alcohol and are eager for a change in how we spend our tax dollars and generate revenue in the state.”

NORML of North Carolina is a non-profit organization with a mission to move public opinion sufficiently to re-legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults.

Federally, marijuana has been a Schedule I controlled substance since 1970. Schedule I substances are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value.

There have been no deaths from marijuana overdose recorded. Fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever meet the clinical criteria for dependence, while 32% of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do.

“Marijuana really is medicine. A recent CNN documentary about its ability to treat severe forms of epilepsy has given hope to families with children suffering from chronic seizures. The National Cancer Institute [cancer.gov] now recognizes marijuana has cancer cell killing properties. Considering plant is effectively non-toxic with no confirmed deaths from overdose and less addictive than alcohol suggests it is time for a reform of North Carolina’s marijuana laws,” added Kennedy.

According to FBI records, North Carolina law enforcement arrested over 20,000 people in 2011 for marijuana related offenses.