Despite North Carolina House Bill 766 working to relax some of the restrictions on marijuana possession in the state, the bill remains in committees. Without passage of the bill, the state has some of the harshest laws on marijuana. Possession of the drug is still a crime.

The General Assembly of North Carolina HB 766 aims to “decriminalize possession of four ounces or less of marijuana.” The bill also aims to help those previously convicted but for possessions of four ounces or less. The house passed the bill then sent it to committees where it remains.

Until reforms pass, NORML lists the penalties and laws currently on the books. If caught with 1.5 ounces or less of marijuana, you can expect a misdemeanor charge with up to 45 days in jail. Fines max out at $1000 for 0.5 to 1.5 ounces and $200 for 0.5 ounces of less. Anything over 1.5 ounces is a felony with max fines ranging from $1000 to $200,000.

The state considers anything over 10 pounds as an indication of intent to distribute and comes with longer jail times and larger fines. Cultivation, sale or delivery of marijuana is a felony with sentences starting at 3 months to as much as 18 years depending on the crime and amount. Not only can you expect jail time and fines, the defendant can potentially have their property including vehicles seized.

All these penalties require a conviction in a court of law. Hiring a criminal attorney can help you understand your rights, investigate the prosecution’s evidence against you and defend you in court.