This North Carolina County has the Highest Rate of Weed Consumption in 2024

Marijuana, also referred to as weed, cannabis, pot, or grass, is a psychoactive substance that comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. There are more than 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most famous ones. Marijuana’s intoxicating effects are caused by THC, while CBD possesses properties that can reduce inflammation, seizures, and protect the nervous system.

Marijuana is a commonly used illegal substance in the United States, with approximately 12% of American adults admitting to smoking it in 2021. Nevertheless, the legal status of marijuana differs across states, with some prohibiting it entirely while others have fully legalized it. Our attention will be directed towards North Carolina, a state where the recreational use of marijuana is prohibited with only limited medical exceptions.

Understanding Marijuana Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, marijuana is classified as a Schedule VI substance. This classification indicates that it is deemed to have no recognized medical benefits and a minimal risk for abuse. If someone is found with any amount of marijuana, they can face a misdemeanor charge that carries a potential penalty of one year in jail and a $200 fine. On the other hand, individuals who are facing their first offense may have the opportunity to receive a conditional discharge. This entails the dismissal of their charges upon successful completion of a drug education program and maintaining a clean record for a year.

The sale or delivery of marijuana is considered a felony, and the penalties for this offense vary based on the quantity of marijuana involved and where the offense took place. As an illustration, if someone sells less than 10 pounds of marijuana, they could face a maximum sentence of 39 months in prison and a fine of $5,000. However, if someone sells more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, the penalties become much more severe, with a potential sentence of up to 219 months in prison and a fine of $200,000. Committing the offense of selling or delivering marijuana in close proximity to a school, park, or playground can result in a maximum prison sentence of 44 months and a fine of $5,000.

Growing marijuana is considered a serious offense and can result in severe consequences, which vary depending on the quantity of plants involved. As an illustration, if someone grows fewer than 10 plants, they could face a maximum of 25 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. On the other hand, growing over 10,000 plants could result in a maximum sentence of 219 months in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Also Read: Study Finds the Highest Rate of Weed Consumption in the Southern California County

Understanding the Use of Medical Marijuana in North Carolina

North Carolina does not have a comprehensive medical marijuana program, but it does permit the use of low-THC/high-CBD cannabis oil for patients with intractable epilepsy. The law, called the Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act or the Hope 4 Haley and Friends Act, was passed in 2014 and later amended in 2015.

Patients who have a written certification from a neurologist affiliated with one of the four state universities (Wake Forest University, Duke University, East Carolina University, and the University of North Carolina) are permitted to possess and use cannabis oil. The oil must contain at least 5% CBD and less than 0.9% THC. Unfortunately, patients are currently unable to legally access cannabis oil and are not protected from federal prosecution under the law.

Understanding Marijuana Use in North Carolina

Based on the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the percentage of North Carolina residents aged 12 or older who reported using marijuana in the past year was 9.8%, which is lower than the national average of 15.9%. North Carolina is ranked as the 40th state in terms of marijuana use prevalence.

The age group with the highest rate of marijuana use was young adults aged 18 to 25, with 22.9% reporting past-year use. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a lower rate, with 10.1% reporting past-year use. Among adults aged 26 or older, only 7.6% reported using marijuana in the past year, indicating a relatively low rate of usage.

Out of all the counties in North Carolina, Buncombe County had the highest rate of marijuana use, with 14.9% of residents reporting past-year use. Durham County followed closely behind, with 14.4% reporting past-year use. In Mitchell County, only 3.8% of residents reported using marijuana in the past year, which is the lowest rate among all the counties.

In conclusion

In North Carolina, the recreational use of marijuana is prohibited by law, with only limited medical exceptions. The penalties for possession, sale, delivery, and cultivation of marijuana vary depending on the amount and location of the offense, and can be quite severe.

However, patients suffering from intractable epilepsy may be able to use low-THC/high-CBD cannabis oil with a doctor’s recommendation, but unfortunately, they do not have legal access to this product. Marijuana usage in North Carolina is relatively low when compared to other states, although it does differ depending on the age group and county. Buncombe County has the highest rate of marijuana use, while Mitchell County has the lowest rate.

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