North Carolina

Last Update: July 3, 2014

CBD-only medical marijuana bill signed into law

On July 3, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act. This new law will exempt a limited class of individuals with certain intractable epilepsy from criminal penalties for using and possessing hemp extracts derived from marijuana that has 0.3% or less THC and more than 10% cannabidiol (CBD). Only neurologists participating in a pilot study are allowed to recommend the use of hemp extract.

While this is an improvement to current law, it leaves the vast majority of potential medical marijuana patients without legal protections, and it fails to provide an in-state source for cannabis extracts. If you are a resident of North Carolina, please email your lawmakers today thanking them for taking this small first step and encouraging them to support HB 1161 — the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act — to let the people vote on a comprehensive program. For more information, please see our summary of the law.

HB 1161, introduced by Rep. Kelly Alexander, would put a constitutional amendment legalizing medical cannabis on November’s ballot. Unlike the CBD-only bill, HB 1161 would allow for a variety of strains and would also set up a “regulated medical cannabis supply system” so that patients can safely access their medicine.

In addition to fighting for medical marijuana, Rep. Alexander has proven himself to be a champion for broader marijuana policy reform by sponsoring legislation to downgrade the penalty for possession of a small amount of marijuana. However, Rep. Alexander can’t change the law on his own; he needs the help of all North Carolinians. Please ask your lawmakers to downgrade the penalty for marijuana possession, and then ask them to pass HB 1161 on to the voters.

Do you have a personal connection to marijuana policy reform?

If you are a medical professional, a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or if you know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana, we would like to hear from you. Additionally, if you are a law enforcement official, a clergy member, a member of the legal community, or if you were arrested for simple possession of marijuana, please email to see how you can be of special help. Be sure to include your zip code so we can determine who your legislators are.

Learn more about North Carolina's marijuana laws

Did you know that, according to the ACLU, black people in North Carolina are almost three and a half times as likely to be arrested for simple possession than their white neighbors? This disparity exists despite the fact that whites and blacks use cannabis at similar rates. If you believe that North Carolina’s law enforcement dollars could be better spent going after real criminals, write your legislators a letter urging them to legalize marijuana for adults by regulating it like alcohol. To learn more about marijuana laws in North Carolina, take a look at this report by economist Jon Gettman, Ph.D.

Write a letter to the editor in support of medical marijuana

If you are interested in composing a powerful 150- to 200-word letter to the editor, we'd be glad to help. Please send MPP an email at, along with a short description of why you support medical marijuana laws.

Sign up now to stay up-to-date on North Carolina marijuana policy

To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in North Carolina, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service, if you haven't done so already.

Recent News

05/23/14 |
Medical Marijuana Constitutional Amendment Proposed in North Carolina

12/17/13 |
North Carolina: Will Graves and the Need for Marijuana Policy Reform

04/11/13 |
Bill Introduced to Downgrade Penalties for Marijuana Possession in North Carolina







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