Despite evolving laws and regulations around medical and recreational marijuana use in the United States, cannabis is classified as a controlled substance in North Carolina. In Boone and Watauga County, it is illegal to possess marijuana even with a legally obtained out-of-state medical cannabis prescription. If you are facing charges relating to marijuana possession, trafficking, paraphernalia, or cultivation, it is crucial to keep convictions off your criminal record. At Harmon Law, we have handled hundreds of possession cases in the High Country of North Carolina. In cases where clients are proactive about their charges, our firm can have marijuana related crimes reduced or dismissed.

No matter your criminal history, you need to seek legal counsel to set your best course for a favorable outcome. Pleading guilty to a drug charge can have detrimental consequences where you may be denied employment, loans, and educational opportunities. To ensure that your rights are not violated and for a sound legal defense, contact Harmon Law to schedule an appointment.

Marijuana Charges in North Carolina

In North Carolina, marijuana possession charges range from a Class 3 misdemeanor to serious felonies. Unlike other illegal substances, marijuana possession can be a misdemeanor in circumstances where possession involves a smaller amount. The penalties for marijuana charges increase with the amount and intent for possessing the substance. Selling or intending to sell or distribute cannabis carries serious consequences including jail-time. Prosecutors can use evidence to show intent to distribute, including the quantity seized and paraphernalia such as packaging, scales, and mass amounts of cash.

The table below shows penalties for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. It is important to note that as the quantity of cannabis seized increases, so do the consequences especially once classified as a felony drug conviction that carry mandatory minimum sentences.

  • Amount of Possession
  • Less than 10 Pounds
  • 10-50 Pounds
  • 50-2,000 Pounds
  • 2,000-10,000 Pounds
  • 10,000+ Pounds
  • Jail Time
  • 3-8 Months in Jail
  • 2-2.5 Years in Jail
  • 3-3.5 Years in Jail
  • 6-7 Years in Jail
  • 14-18 Years in Jail
  • Fines
  • $1000
  • $5,000
  • $25,000
  • $50,000
  • $200,000

Federal Marijuana Charges

The Controlled Substance Act classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Depending on the amount in your possession. cannabis can result in federal charges. Under the Controlled Substances Act, federal agents can make an arrest for possessions. However, the federal government typically does not become involved in marijuana charges unless there is a large quantity of the substance being trafficked. Trafficking includes large-scale cultivation, moving, and selling any illegal substance. Each penalty for trafficking is determined by the amount and type of drugs involved.

It is important to note that federal felony charges carry mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana and cannabis charges. Some cases carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and carry fines of up to $5 million dollars, with minimum sentences increasing when high quantities are involved.

Possession of Paraphernalia

Marijuana vs. Drug Paraphernalia

Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is classified as a misdemeanor offense similar to simple possession. Many time defendants are charged in association with one another. For example, marijuana paraphernalia can include anything used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, package, store, ingest, inhale, or introduce into the body.

The identifiable difference between the two is distinguished by the drug in question. If drug paraphernalia is discovered in proximity to an unlawful controlled substance such as methamphetamine, then the charge is associated with drug paraphernalia. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is different from possession of drug paraphernalia, as drug paraphernalia is a more serious offense.

Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is classified as a Class 3 Misdemeanor while standard drug paraphernalia is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. Marijuana paraphernalia charges carry less serious penalties, but if not handled appropriately can result in high fines, probation, and even jail time.

Growing & Selling Marijuana in Watauga County

In Boone, growing and selling marijuana has greater consequences than for simple possession. The Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies are cracking down on the distribution of cannabis and set harsh penalties for anyone transporting the drug. Individuals who simply cultivate the plant can result in charges of possession with intent to distribute, even for growing a handful of plants for personal use.

Challenging Cannabis-Related Evidence

In marijuana cases, the seizure of cannabis is the main evidence for cases involving possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana. Police officers must carefully follow procedures and ensure probable cause before conducting any search. Law enforcement must legally obtain marijuana from you to successfully prosecute you in court.

Under the Fourth Amendment, United States citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. If you suspect that you submitted to an improper search, our law firm can help you investigate the evidence in your case and fight to have wrongfully obtained evidence dismissed from your trial.

Speak to a Boone Criminal Lawyer

If you are facing cannabis related charges, contact our Boone marijuana defense attorney at Harmon Law. By hiring an experienced criminal lawyer like Jason Harmon, you can be assured that all the events surrounding your charge will be investigated to prevent the violation of your rights. It is Mr. Harmon’s objective to minimize any long-term consequences and reduce the negative implications associated with marijuana related charges. Having an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in the workings of a courtroom, can make all the difference. Let us be that difference for you.

Contact us today at 828-386-6500 or fill out our confidential intake form for a consultation.