Can Having a Joint Land Me in the Joint?

Drug crimes are something that the state of North Carolina takes pretty seriously. However, when it comes to marijuana, the state has been a little more lenient when it comes to penalties, at least in cases of simple possession -- such as the police finding you with a joint on your person, in your car or in your home.

Many North Carolina residents do want to know what the penalties are for marijuana-related drug crimes. They may also be curious if having a joint will land them in the joint, even if it is for medical purposes.

Charges and penalties

The law places marijuana crimes into three different categories. These are possession, sale and trafficking. The penalties for these crimes are:

  • Possession: Individuals found with less than half an ounce will face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $200. For 0.5 and 1.5 ounces, penalties include 1-45 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Possession reaches felony-level status if one has 1.5 ounces to 10 pounds of the drug on their person. This is punishable by up to eight months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Trafficking and sales: This is where the state takes a tough stance. These are felony-level crimes. The consequences range from 25 to 219 months in prison and fines up to $200,000. It all depends on the drug amount found in the accused's possession.

Medical marijuana

As it currently stands, there are no exemptions for medical marijuana in North Carolina. State lawmakers are working on a medical marijuana bill, but so far, it has yet to pass. Therefore, claiming medical need as a defense will not prove very effective for a person charged with simple possession.

Defend yourself

The bottom line is, having a joint is not likely to land you in the joint. Having a lot of them, though, just may. However, marijuana laws are always changing. This information stems from the state's current laws.

At the end of the day, drug cases are all about drug type, amount and intent. While the punishment for marijuana-related cases may not be as severe as cases involving other drugs, some of these penalties can still do a number on your personal and professional life. Defending yourself is the key to achieving the best outcome possible for your case.