Raleigh Marijuana Lawyer

Raleigh Marijuana Lawyers with the Experience You Need for Your Defense

At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, Raleigh marijuana lawyers, we are experienced with representing people who are charged with crimes related to the possession of cannabis. If you are facing marijuana possession charges, you need legal counsel and representation to help clear your name and move forward. The penalties for marijuana possession can be severe and have life-long consequences. Being charged with marijuana possession can be a tarnish on your record for years, regardless of whether the charge is dropped or lessened.

We aim to help you fight for your rights and get a clean record. If you are charged with possession of marijuana in Raleigh, you need to act quickly. Drug possession charges are complicated and have differences depending on the type and the amount of drug you are accused of having. Our team of experienced marijuana defense lawyers can guide you through the legal process effectively. In this article, we discuss marijuana possession charges and penalties in North Carolina.

Possession of Marijuana

As defined under N.C. General Statute § 90-86, also known as the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act, a person is guilty of possession if they knowingly possess marijuana–either actual possession or constructive possession.

This law specifies, among other things, that it is illegal for anyone to:

  • Manufacture, deliver, or possess a controlled substance such as marijuana with the intent to sell
  • Have a controlled substance in your possession for personal use

Actual Possession and Constructive Possession

There is a difference in the law between actual possession and constructive possession. A drug possession case can go one way or the other depending on whether you were in actual possession or constructive possession. A person has actual possession if it is on his/her person. A person has constructive possession if it is not on his/her person but is aware of its presence, and has the power and the intent to control its disposition or use. This awareness of the presence of the substance and the person’s power to control its disposition or use can be shown by direct evidence or can be concluded from facts and circumstances.

Marijuana Possession Charges and Penalties

North Carolina General Statute, chapter 90-95 (a)(3) is the foundation for how penalties are given. Drug possession charges and penalties are determined by the schedule of the controlled substance. As of April 30, 2024 marijuana has moved to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) from Schedule III by the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, giving a lesser penalty to a possession charge than in the past. Schedule I drugs are those that have a high potential for abuse but no currently accepted medical use. 

Other factors that come into play with penalties are previous criminal records and the amount of the substance you are accused of having. 

A conviction of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (with no intent to distribute or manufacture) is a Class I felony. Assuming there is no prior criminal record, the penalty is 3 to 12 months in prison.

Trafficking Marijuana

Penalties are more severe when you are also convicted of trafficking. Marijuana trafficking is a felony, but the class of felony varies depending on the amount you possess. Typically, the more you possess, the higher the likelihood that you are distributing. In N.C., the law stipulates that a person will be found guilty of trafficking if he/she sells, delivers, possesses, or transports marijuana over 10 pounds.

Selling and distributing marijuana have the same penalties as trafficking and are specified in N.C General Statute § 15A-1340.17 and N.C. General Statute 90-95(a)(2).

The following is a list of marijuana possession charges and punishment:
  • Possession of more than 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds is a Class H felony. This felony is punishable by a minimum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for at least 25 months but not more than 39 months. 
  • Possession between 50 and 2,000 pounds is a Class G felony. This felony is punishable by a fine of at least $25,000 and a prison term of no less than 35 months and no more than 51 months.
  • Possession of 2,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds of marijuana is a Class F felony. This felony is punishable with a minimum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment from 70 to 93 months. 
  • Possession of over 10,000 pounds of marijuana is a Class D felony. This felony is punishable with a fine of at least $200,000 and imprisonment between 175 and 222 months.

Possessing Drug Paraphernalia

Possessing marijuana or other illicit drug-related paraphernalia is a chargeable offense and can add weight as evidence to a possession charge. Drug paraphernalia is any item that is used to grow, manufacture, sell, or use an illegal or illicit substance. 

A person is guilty of this offense under N.C. General Statute 90-113.22(a) if he/she knowingly uses or possesses with the intent to use for any of these purposes:

  • To plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, or harvest marijuana
  • To manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, or prepare marijuana
  • To test or analyze marijuana
  • To package, repackage, store, contain, or conceal marijuana
  • To inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce marijuana into the body

Here are some paraphernalia that are covered under North Carolina statute:

  • Scales for weighing drugs
  • Containers or bags used for concealing or storing a controlled substance
  • Grinders, blenders, bowls, or any mixing device intended or used for compounding a controlled substance
  • Water pipes used to inhale a controlled substance
  • Acrylic, ceramic, stone, glass, plastic, metal, or wooden pipes used to inhale a controlled substance

Contact Our Raleigh Marijuana Lawyers if You’ve Been Charged

If you are convicted of possessing marijuana in Raleigh, you could be risking incarceration. Regardless of the penalties, it can leave a permanent mark on your record that impacts your ability to get a job, limit your career path, own a business, or rent a property. Our experienced drug possession lawyers at Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh can protect your rights by using our knowledge to help you get the best possible outcome. If you are facing charges, don’t delay. Contact us today for a free consultation at (919) 845-6688 or by filling out our contact form.