Mar 22, 2021
cannabis possession, civil offense, collateral consequences, courts, criminal conviction, decrim, decriminalization, Elon College, HB 290, infraction, law enforcement, misdemeanor, NC, North Carolina, North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, penalties, penalty reclassification, police, poll, serious crimes
HB 290 would reclassify cannabis possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction — write your elected officials today and urge them to support this reform!
In December, the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice recommended that cannabis possession should be a civil — not a criminal — offense. Last week, legislators put forward a bill that would do just that.
HB 290, which has 28 legislative sponsors, would reclassify the penalty for possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Under North Carolina law, infractions are punishable by a fine of up to $100.
Under current law, possessing up to a half ounce of cannabis is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $200, along with the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. Possession of greater amounts up to 1.5 ounces can result in up to 45 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Most North Carolina residents — 54% according to a recent Elon College poll — are in favor of legalizing cannabis. HB 290 would not legalize possession, but it would significantly reduce harm to individuals who are charged with possessing small amounts. It would also allow police and courts to waste less time dealing with cannabis possession cases, leaving them with more time to deal with serious crimes.
After you write your legislators, please share this message with your family and friends.