North Carolina’s limited medical marijuana law was adopted in June 2014 with the passing of House Bill (HB) 1220 and was amended in July 2015 by HB 766. The law, titled the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act, allows for the use of “hemp extract” for the treatment of epilepsy if recommended by a neurologist. 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 must have a parent, legal guardian, or custodian register as a caregiver on their behalf. Patients and caregivers may only possess lab-certified hemp extracts with greater than 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC that do not produce psychoactive effects. The hemp extract must be acquired from outside of North Carolina, and 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. The law automatically expires on July 1, 2021.

In July of 2015 House Bill 766 was signed by Gov. McCrory amending HB1220 to expand 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 0.9% 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.

Below you will find links to the actual text of the legislation and a brief summary of the law.


HB 1220- Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act

HB 766- Amendment to Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act

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-licensed neurologist
  • Must have a registered caregiver
  • May only possess lab-certified cannabis extracts that do not 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 submit a Caregiver Registration Application

Recommending Clinicians

  • Must be board certified in Neurology
  • Must be licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina
  • Must be affiliated with the neurology department at one or more state-licensed hospitals
  • Must have recommended three or more treatment options that the patient did not respond to
  • Must provide a written statement supporting the recommendation of hemp extract

Cannabis Cultivators
No Legal Protection

Product Manufacturers
No Legal Protection

Medical Dispensaries 
No Legal Protection


North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services