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North Carolina Dispensaries

Big News for North Carolina – First Recreational Marijuana Dispensary Set to Open!

The Tar Heel state’s very first adult recreational marijuana dispensary is about to open, thanks to the Eastern Band of Cherokee. They’re kicking things off on April 20—yep, that’s 4/20, the famous cannabis holiday.

This green change follows a big decision last fall when the tribe voted to allow marijuana use for adults on their reservation land.

They’ve completely revamped an old bingo hall into a mega dispensary which is going to offer 350 different cannabis products.

Not only does the recreational MJ dispensary hold the promise of being a genuine cannabis superstore, but it is also creating much-needed jobs in the area. The forecast is that it will employ around 400.

The next time you visit Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Western Carolina to try your hand at a game of poker or hit the slots, you’ll want to check out the impressive dispensary.

Without a doubt, the grand opening of the marijuana dispensary is a big step forward in the struggle to legalize marijuana for recreational use and a definite sign that things are starting to change.

North Carolina Marijuana Dispensary Guide

NC Regulated Cannabis Program Overview

Type of program: CBD oil only

About North Carolina Medical Marijuana

Advocates for legal marijuana — either medical or recreational — haven’t been having an easy time in North Carolina. 

In 2014, North Carolina lawmakers passed a severely limited medical cannabis law. However, advocates for cannabis policy reforms do not consider the program to be a legitimate medical marijuana program. 

The legislation originally permitted doctors affiliated with the neurology departments at three state universities to treat patients suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders under close supervision — those are Wake Forest University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and East Carolina University.

Under the law only strains of cannabis that are high in CBD (at least 5 percent) and with only trace amounts of THC (under 0.9 percent) were permitted. Furthermore, medical marijuana doctors were required to be registered with the study at one of the four universities mentioned above. 

Patients’ data was to be tracked and used to provide evidence that a state marijuana program is warranted. 

The law made no provision for the legal cultivation, production, or sale of CBD oil.  

In 2015 lawmakers expanded qualifying physicians to include any board-certified doctor board of neurology affiliated with a state-licensed hospital.  

So far, although the majority of North Carolina residents are in favor of medical marijuana, advocates have been unsuccessful in getting a decent medical marijuana law passed. 

In 2019, a more comprehensive medical marijuana bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. The Senate approved the bill to expand qualifying conditions to include autism, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, mitochondrial disease, and other conditions that failed to respond to at least three other treatment options. However, the bill died in a House committee. 

The current program has a sunset clause and is set to expire in 2021.

Qualifying medical conditions for North Carolina CBD

In order to qualify for the program, patients must be suffering from intractable epilepsy or other seizure-causing condition that has not responded to at least three conventional treatments. 


Only parents, legal guardians, or “custodians” are permitted to be caregivers and they must be at least 18 years old. Moreover, only caregivers are permitted to acquire CBD oil in North Carolina. Patients are not permitted to acquire their own medicine even if they are over 18 years of age. The law does not provide a means for caregivers to acquire CBD oil so caregivers must purchase it from out of state.

Buy CBD oil online in North Carolina

Caregivers are required to submit a Caregiver Registration Application with the DHHS and must possess a written recommendation from the patient’s neurologist.

North Carolina medical CBD purchase and possession limits

Possession limits for patients are set by the attending neurologist.

Marijuana dispensaries in North Carolina 

None. The cultivation and sale of marijuana are illegal in North Carolina. 

CBD products available in North Carolina

The only products available under the state’s medical cannabis program are CBD oils containing greater than 10 percent CBD and under 0.3 percent THC. 

Marijuana Doctors

How to get a medical CBD card in North Carolina

In order to obtain CBD oil, patients suffering from seizure disorders must receive a recommendation from any board-certified neurologist. However, not all neurologists will be amenable. 

North Carolina hemp and CBD laws

Although hemp farming is legal in North Carolina, technically, CBD oil may not be produced within the state and is only legal for medical cannabis patients. All other types of CBD products are still illegal

However, North Carolina law enforcement agencies have not shown interest in prosecuting residents for the possession of hemp-derived products and it’s fairly simple to buy CBD oil online from out of state.  

Learn more about North Carolina hemp and CBD laws.

Pending Changes to North Carolina marijuana laws

There have been some attempts to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana in North Carolina, however, none have come close to achieving the support needed to become law.

According to a new poll, a majority of North Carolina adults support legalizing marijuana for adult use. The survey found that the percentage of respondents who are in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state increased by nine points since a prior poll conducted in 2017 from 45 to 54 percent with Democrats being more likely to embrace legalization than Republicans by 16 percent.

At present, the possession of up to half an ounce is a misdemeanor carrying a $200 fine. Vape cartridges and cannabis concentrates such as hash, wax, dabs, shatter, etc. are all felonies in North Carolina.

Marijuana-related DUI laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina driving while under the influence of any controlled substance carries similar penalties as a DUI. 

North Carolina medical marijuana and guns

Technically, gun purchase and ownership are illegal across the nation if an individual uses any Schedule I Controlled Substance such as marijuana, even if it’s for medicinal purposes. 

Home cultivation: prohibited

It is illegal to cultivate marijuana in North Carolina.

North Carolina Medical Marijuana laws:

  • HB 1220– Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act
  • HB 766– Amendment to Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act
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