How do I get medicinal (or medical) marijuana in North Carolina?

In the last several years, many states have implemented statutes authorizing the medicinal use of marijuana. Despite several attempts to pass medical marijuana statutes, North Carolina is not one of these states. As such, you cannot get medical marijuana in the state of North Carolina. 

Options for Obtaining Medical Marijuana in North Carolina

If you feel that you absolutely need medical marijuana, you generally have two options. You may obtain medical marijuana illegally or establish a residence where medical marijuana is authorized. Before you choose the first option, you should understand all of the consequences associated with the illegal possession of marijuana, including medical marijuana. Similarly, before you uproot and relocate, you should review the laws of states that authorize medical marijuana and overlapping federal statutes.

States that Authorize Medical Marijuana v. North Carolina

California has authorized the use of medical marijuana. In California, if you carry a Medical Marijuana Identification Card, you are not likely to be charged or even arrested for possessing marijuana. North Carolina is distinctly different. The North Carolina penal code does not provide exceptions for the possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Possession is possession. Penalties for possessing medical marijuana are the same as those for possession of recreational marijuana.

Depending on the quantity of marijuana possessed, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, be confined to the county jail or state prison, and ordered to pay a fine. If the amount of marijuana that you possessed is under 14 grams, the North Carolina penal code requires that you be placed on probation for your first offense. This means that you will not face jail time for your first marijuana arrest.

Relocating to a State Where Medical Marijuana Use is Legal

If you feel that you need medical marijuana, your second option is to move to a state that authorizes the use of medical marijuana. Before you uproot your home, you should review the requirements of medical marijuana programs in other communities. Depending on that state’s laws, medical marijuana may be limited such that a doctor in the other state cannot recommend or authorize medical marijuana for your condition. Your North Carolina doctor’s opinion can help, but the opinion of the doctor in the other state will control. 

Federal Laws and Medical Marijuana Use

It may seem frustrating that North Carolina seems behind the wave of medical marijuana reform. However, the issue will be moot as long as state and federal laws conflict. For example, even though you can possess medical marijuana in California pursuant to state medical marijuana laws, you are considered in violation of federal statutes. Marijuana is still illegal and prosecuted pursuant to federal laws. You could end up relocating to another state only to be convicted of possession of marijuana by federal prosecutors. 

Getting Help

If you really think that medical marijuana is an avenue that you should strongly consider, consult with a drug attorney before you expose yourself to criminal liability in North Carolina. A drug attorney (or criminal defense lawyer) can provide you with the latest updates in medical marijuana enforcement procedures and penalties. From there, you can make a decision on how, where, and if you should possess medical marijuana in North Carolina.

Follow this link for more information about North Carolina Marijuana Laws and North Carolina Medical Marijuana Laws.