North Carolina Medical Marijuana Laws and Regulations

North Carolina’s medical marijuana law took effect in July 2014. House Bill 1220 protects an extremely narrow class of patients through the creation of a pilot program that allows research on “hemp extract” for the purpose of treating intractable epilepsy only. Pilot studies must receive prior approval from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services and be conducted by a licensed neurologist who is affiliated with one of four specified Universities. For an individual to receive legal protection, they must be diagnosed with epilepsy and under the care of a state-approved neurologist who has tried three or more treatment options that failed. Patients and caregivers may only possess lab-certified extracts that do not produce psychoactive effects. There is no mechanism for cultivation or dispensing of medical cannabis, leaving providers without essential legal protection. Similarly, there is no provision for possession of dried cannabis flowers or any other form of the plant beyond extractions. Below you will find links to the actual text of the legislation, a brief summary of the law and resources on passing more robust legal protections.

In 2015, several revisions we made via HB 766. This act expanded qualified physicians to include any doctor board certified in neurology and affiliated with any state-licensed hospital. The bill also changed the required THC/CBD percentages for medical cannabis from greater than 10% CBD and less than .3% THC to greater than 5% CBD and less than .9% THC. There were also changes to enhance patient privacy as well as the addition of a sunset clause, ending the medical cannabis program in 2021 if studies fail to show therapeutic relief from CBD.

Laws:

HB 1220- Hope 4 Haley and Friends

HB 766- Amend CBD Oil Statute

Brief Summary of Legislation:

QUALIFYING PATIENTS

  • Must be diagnosed with epilepsy that does not respond to three or more treatment options
  • Must be under the care of a state-approved Neurologist
  • Must be registered in Intractable Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Pilot Study database
  • May only possess lab-certified cannabis extracts that cannot produce a psychoactive effect

PATIENT CAREGIVERS

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must be a resident of North Carolina
  • Must be a parent, legal guardian or custodian of a person with intractable epilepsy
  • Must be issued a Caregiver Registration Card by the State of North Carolina, at a cost of $50/year

RECOMMENDING CLINICIANS

  • Must be board certified in Neurology
  • Must be licensed to practice medicine in the State of North Carolina
  • Must be registered in Intractable Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Pilot Study database

CANNABIS CULTIVATORS
No Legal Protection

PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS
No Legal Protection

MEDICAL DISPENSARIES
No Legal Protection

Program:

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services