North Carolina Updates Drug Laws, Targeting Fake Pot and Fentanyl

An overhaul of North Carolina’s illegal drug laws goes into effect today.

Synthetic cannabinoids, a.k.a. ‘fake weed’, used to be treated very similarly to genuine marijuana as far as legal penalties were concerned. The only real difference was that the thresholds for various possession or sale penalties for fake weed were half of what they were for real weed.

Under a law ratified back in June , the text relating to fake weed was removed from the law that penalizes marijuana possession. This same law effectively moved all synthetic cannabinoids into Schedule I.

The penalties for possessing or transferring these compounds increased drastically as a result. Previously, possession of 7 grams of fake weed was punishable only by a $200 fine and possibly up to 10 days in jail. Under the new law, possession of any amount is now a felony which carries a presumptive 5-6 month jail sentence for first offenders , or a fine at the discretion of the court. Selling it bumps the jail term up to a presumptive 10-13 months.

This same law also added fentanyl, its derivatives, and a lot of substances with similar effects into Schedule I as controlled opiates.

In addition to slightly expanding some definitions to broaden the net of drugs which could fall into various classifications within Schedule I, several other hallucinogens and depressants were added to the banned list.

Schedules III, IV, and V were also slightly expanded with the addition of more types of anabolic steroids, muscle relaxers, and some anticonvulsants, respectively.