Marijuana sales have soared in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In states with legal marijuana, sales have shot up over 50 percent over the same time last year.
There are a variety of reasons marijuana has made a big splash over the course of the last few months, but it’s important to keep in mind that possessing, selling, or transporting marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina.
Here are a few of the reasons that marijuana has been in demand and the consequences you may face if busted with it in the state of North Carolina.
The Rise of Marijuana Demand
There are a few factors that have contributed to the demand for marijuana since COVID-19 began to spread across the globe. These reasons include:
Concerns Over Shortages
In many places, supply chains have been interrupted. This even extends to marijuana. So, people are buying more simply because they’re afraid in the future they won’t be able to.
Anxiety and Stress
Pandemics probably rank high in lists of most stressful situations and many people aren’t equipped with the right tools to deal with the anxiety and stress the situation can present.
Let’s face it – there hasn’t been a pandemic on this scale for a century, so it’s no wonder people don’t have the coping skills they need to deal with this situation. That’s where marijuana comes into play for many people, as a way to mitigate stress and temper anxiety before it gets out of control.
There are only so many hours you can log on to your Nintendo Switch before you start getting really bored. Add to that the fact that many people haven’t ventured out of their homes except for essential activities such as going to the grocery store in months.
They’re not socializing or even eating out at restaurants for fear of the virus. People are simply bored, and marijuana makes for a way to pass the time.
The Legal Consequences of Marijuana Possession in NC
Regardless of the availability of marijuana, it’s important to remember that in North Carolina it’s still illegal. If you get caught with some, then you can face serious legal consequences.
- In North Carolina, being caught in possession of half an ounce or less of marijuana will result in a misdemeanor charge. A fine up to $200 may be imposed, but you won’t face jail time.
- If you’re found in possession of between a half ounce and 1.5 ounces, that too is a misdemeanor. But this conviction carries with it a sentence of up to 45 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
- Possession of anywhere from there to 10 pounds is a felony punishable by up to eight months in jail and a fine of $1,000.
An Intent to Distribute Raises the Stakes
If there’s reason to believe that the amount of marijuana you were caught with was meant to be sold, then you also face felony charges. Possession with the intent to distribute can be charged with even small amounts of marijuana and is a felony.
The amount of marijuana that was intended for distribution has an impact on the penalty, the maximum of which is up to 10,000 pounds or more, punishable by up to 175 months in prison and fines up to $200,000.
The truth is there is no safe amount of marijuana to possess in North Carolina. If you’re caught, then you can face serious repercussions, so no matter how bored you get during this pandemic, possessing marijuana is not a good idea.