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Is CBD Legal in North Carolina? CBD Laws in NC 2024

 Is CBD Legal in North Carolina? CBD Laws in NC 2024

Since 2015, the beloved Tar Heel State, known for its coastal and Appalachian regions, has permitted a limited number of CBD products through its Hemp Pilot Program.

...The in-state purchase of CBD and CBD oil is legal in North Carolina — to a point. 

That said, North Carolina state law permits CBD on two grounds: the CBD must be hemp-derived and contain no more than 0.3% THC. Recreational marijuana consumption remains illegal.

CBD Laws in North Carolina: What You Need to Know

When SL 2015-299, or North Carolina’s Senate Bill 313, passed, the Hemp Pilot Program took off, and the Industrial Hemp Commission obtained authority to organize the appropriate legislation surrounding hemp — everything from the state’s fine-print rules to licensing systems. Out of that 2015 Senate action came the following designations:

  • Hemp-derived CBD – Hemp-derived CBD is legal in North Carolina as long as the accompanying THC concentration is listed below 0.3%. If THC levels exceed this limit, the hemp-sourced CBD is then classified by law as “marijuana,” which remains illegal in North Carolina.
  • Non-hemp CBD – CBD extracted from cannabis plants is illegal under state law, as cannabis-derived CBD contains much more THC than the limit of 0.3%, thus defining it as marijuana and not a hemp product. Recreational marijuana consumption is currently illegal in North Carolina as of October 2022.
  • CBD in food and medicine – According to the Federal Food and Drug Administration, CBD is classified as a drug, and thus it is illegal nationwide to include any amount of CBD into foods. CBD cannot be included within medicinal or medical claims; it can’t be marketed for treatment or even as a supplement.

Is CBD Legal in North Carolina?

Before the momentous Hemp Pilot Program’s launch, hemp had a much more unstable home in North Carolina:

  • The Controlled Substances Act, passed in 1970, established a federal drug policy prohibiting all uses of marijuana, including medically. But by 1977, North Carolina became the eleventh state to decriminalize marijuana, thus reducing penalties and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana (0.5 ounces or less) to a maximum $200 fine.
  • In January 2015, 69% of residents supported the legalization of medical marijuana, per survey results. However, when it came time for the state House of Representatives to vote on a bill proposing that very same legalization two months later, the bill faced a unanimous rejection. Medical marijuana use is still not legally established in North Carolina.

That said, the 2014 Farm Bill was a federal bill that changed the course of United States hemp farming by granting states the freedom to launch pilot programs to boost their hemp industries. Additionally, both academic institutions and state agricultural centers were newly permitted to grow hemp for research and marketing purposes.

Following the bill, the Hemp Pilot Program initiated hemp farming in October of 2015. It then became legal to grow and distribute hemp — that is, if one had obtained a license through the state’s agriculture and consumer services department. Evidently, the legalization of hemp didn’t necessarily entail relaxed regulations.

Soon after, the federal government took its own motions toward industrial hemp legalization.

The Agricultural Act of 2018 (colloquially known as the Farm Bill) removed hemp from the Controlled Substance Act, giving hemp a normal agricultural standing. This set in motion a ripple effect of individual states working within their own governments to support hemp industries and legalize CBD products within state boundaries. 

Looking forward, CBD laws in North Carolina 2022 might be changing. Senate Bill 711 is a proposed legislative measure that would allow residents a month’s supply of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation, and it’s currently backed by both Republicans and Democrats of the North Carolina General Assembly. 

Can I Buy CBD in North Carolina?

Despite the state’s relatively strict laws surrounding it, the in-state purchase of CBD and CBD oil is legal in North Carolina — to a point. Legal CBD must come from the hemp plant rather than flowering cannabis and must contain less than 0.3% THC.

Can I Buy CBD Online?

If you don’t have a CBD or wellness shop near you, there are still ways to buy CBD oils, tinctures, creams and more. Any CBD product within the legal THC concentration range can be legally shipped to North Carolina as long as the online retailer is a certified CBD product distributor. 

Zebra CBD is the only CBD company with a Label Accuracy Guarantee™, verifying high-quality, tested-and-true CBD products. In a time of ever-changing hemp laws, Zebra’s wide selection of pesticide-free and heavy-metal-free CBD and convenient delivery service ensures you can always have the most effective and trustworthy hemp products.

Can I Buy CBD at a Dispensary?

You cannot buy CBD at a dispensary in North Carolina. The state has no recreational or medical dispensaries. Any residents or visitors with an out-of-state medical marijuana card would need to travel to a dispensary outside state lines.

However, various retailers and storefronts in North Carolina sell CBD products. 

Legal Status of CBD in North Carolina

To recap, CBD is legal in North Carolina under specific parameters. North Carolina residents over the age of 18 can safely and legally enjoy hemp-derived CBD products if said products do not surpass the 0.3% THC concentration boundary.

With new bills being proposed regularly at both state and federal levels, it’s important to note that laws concerning CBD and marijuana usage are subject to change. Consider staying informed on the latest regulation updates, no matter what state you’re in.

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. The provided information may not reflect current legal developments or information, and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete or current. We recommend checking our source(s) to see if the information or legal status have been revised since our content was published.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is CBD Legal in North Carolina?

Yes, hemp-CBD is legal in North Carolina as long as it has no more than 0.3% THC.

2. How old do you have to be to buy CBD in North Carolina?

When purchasing CBD in North Carolina, purchasers must be 18 years of age or older.

3. Can I sell CBD products in North Carolina?

Yes. Currently, there are no North Carolina laws that require sellers of hemp products to acquire a license or registration. 


North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: Agriculture Review. N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission begins work.

North Carolina Law Talk. Is CBD Legal in NC? What You Need To Know About NC Hemp Laws.

Medical News Today. What is the difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD?

North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in North Carolina.

United States Drug Enforcement Administration. The Controlled Substances Act.

The Fayetteville Observer. 300 years of cannabis policy in North Carolina — marijuana, hemp and related products.

WRAL News. House Committee Kills Medical Marijuana Bill.

United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill).

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. North Carolina: Medical Marijuana Effort.

Center for Forensic Science of Drug Rehabilitation and Recovery. Where to Buy CBD Oil in North Carolina? Hemp Oil Laws & Legality (2022).

Leafwell. North Carolina.

Co-founder of Copycat Copywriters, Adam has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies on a wide array of topics, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

About the Author

Adam Biederman Image

Adam Biederman

As co-founder and lead writer of Copycat Copywriters, one of Adam’s primary areas of expertise is within the budding CBD and cannabis space. He has written for dozens of CBD and cannabis companies, producing a collection of white papers, press releases, blog posts, articles and ebooks about a wide array of industry-related subjects, including regulations, economics, farming practices and biochemistry.

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