North Carolina remains among the minority of states where marijuana use is largely illegal, with very few exceptions. Fortunately, recent updates to the law have initiated a movement towards decriminalizing possession of small amounts, while a bill is gaining momentum to advance the legalization of medical marijuana in the state.

What Are the Current Marijuana Laws in North Carolina?

Marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal in North Carolina. However, carrying small amounts of marijuana is no longer considered a felony, but it may still result in a misdemeanor conviction without jail time. The legislation for medical marijuana is limited to the use of CBD products, and only certain patients may qualify to use CBD-based treatments under the supervision of a doctor.

Growing marijuana at home, cultivating it for commercial purposes, or selling marijuana within state borders is also not allowed. The state does not currently have any legal dispensaries, but this may change if Senate Bill 711 is approved.

What Are the Licensing Requirements for Dispensaries in North Carolina?

There is no current statewide regulation for marijuana dispensaries in North Carolina. In other states where marijuana is allowed for recreational and/or medical purposes, those wishing to open a dispensary may choose between applying for a medical marijuana business license and/or a retail marijuana business license.

In some states, a business license for a marijuana dispensary may require the payment of an application fee. While the fee varies from state to state, in Ohio, for example, an applicant must be prepared to pay a $5,000.00 application fee, $80,000.00 for a licensure fee, and another $80,000.00 for the renewal fee. It is still not clear what the requirements will be if dispensaries become legal in North Carolina.

How Can I Prepare to Obtain a Dispensary Business License in North Carolina?

Many cannabis advocates see a potential business opportunity in North Carolina if SB711 becomes law. While the bill still needs to go through additional steps before it can be enacted into law, those interested in opening a dispensary in North Carolina may want to consider planning ahead of time.

Raising the proper capital, developing a business plan, choosing the right business structure, researching potential locations and more are just some examples of steps an aspiring dispensary owner can take in the meantime. It may also be worth speaking with a cannabis business lawyer to help you with the planning process.

At Davis Legal, PLLC, we help business owners make the right plans for a successful business. Not only do we have business law knowledge, but we also understand cannabis laws. We can assist you with your plans and answer questions as cannabis laws continue to change and evolve in North Carolina. Contact our Raleigh office for an initial consultation to learn more. Call 919-756-6437.