A majority of people in North Carolina support legalization of medical and recreational marijuana, but neither are legal as of 2021. However, marijuana has been decriminalized, so first time offenders will not be jailed for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Possession of up to 0.5 ounces is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $200.
Marijuana Moment, a news service focused on the legalization of cannabis, cited a recent poll which found that the percentage of respondents who favor recreational cannabis legalization increased by nine points, from 45 to 54 percent, since the firm last polled North Carolina residents on the question in 2017. Support for medical marijuana reform dipped to 73 percent, down from 80 percent in the earlier poll, but opposition remained stable at 18 percent, compared to 17 percent.
When it comes to recreational legalization, opposition “fell substantially over the last three years,” Jason Hussar, director of the Elon Poll, said in a press release. “I suspect this is due in large part to the wave of states that have passed legalization measures,” he said. “Medical marijuana legalization remains broadly supported in every demographic group we examined.”
Some cities in North Carolina are more lenient than others. Asheville, long known as a hippy and hipster enclave in the Appalachian Mountains, is particularly lax about enforcement. We Be High, a cannabis tourism guide, gives Asheville 4.75 out of 5 stars for its “smoking tolerance level.” The review states: “Everybody and their mom smokes in Asheville. It’s easy to find green and you can smoke on top of the parking decks downtown if you’re smart about it. Smoking spliffs downtown is very easy as long as there’s not a lot of people out that day.”
So, if you want to smoke a spliff with your mom downtown somewhere, Asheville is the place to go. Then, you can go shopping for some pottery at a microbrewery — because Asheville! Elsewhere in the state you may encounter much stricter enforcement.