History of CBD and Cannabis: North Carolina
Having undergone extremely limited cannabis policy reform, North Carolina remains one of the toughest states on possession and use of marijuana. Like many other Southern states, constituents and lawmakers remain hesitant about the potential benefits of legalization, which could include increased tax revenue, reduced trafficking violence, and better consumer access to healthier products.
Yet despite legal hesitation, North Carolina has a slightly distinct history with cannabis and hemp, which has made it comparatively more receptive to gradual policy reform than other conservative states.
Cannabis, CBD, and North Carolina
During the colonial era, hemp was a popular crop grown all throughout Southern Appalachia and in the moist regions of North Carolina. Known for its versatility, hemp was used to create breathable fabrics, sturdy composites, nutritious food supplements, and wartime goods.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, North Carolina became a modest exporter of the crop. The crop was known as a highly lucrative strain that sold for several times more than the standard acre of wheat, owing to its highly fibrous quality.
Demand peaked before World War II and tapered off in the middle of the century. By the forties, hemp was completely banned for growth and sale due to officials’ concerns that it could be consumed like marijuana.
For decades, both hemp and cannabis shared the same illegal status throughout the state. It was only during a brief wave of national decriminalization that the state somewhat reduced the penalty for possession of trace amounts of cannabis in 1977.
More modernly, many attempts have been made to legalize medical marijuana fully throughout the state. In 2014, a bill was introduced to the House that sought to enact a medical cannabis program; however, the act was so disliked by the legislature that the House Committee barred all medical marijuana acts from being considered over the following two years.
By 2015, Governor McCrory signed an act into law that would allow specific patients with incurable seizure disorders access to low THC CBD oil. However, the bill didn’t introduce any specific regulatory framework for ensuring patient access to CBD.
Like many other states, the market for CBD products is essentially a “wild west” in North Carolina. Vendors sell CBD oils, tinctures, and creams without abandon while no health officials vet the safety of these products. In brick and mortar locations, some vendors may opt to cut their products with unsafe or untested ingredients since there’s such a small degree of legal enforcement over CBD.
Though there have been no cases of injury caused by unregulated CBD, the state’s unwillingness to act may cause issues down the road.