It’s hard to ignore the rumblings for legal marijuana in North Carolina. This week, some policymakers are focusing first on decriminalization measures. On Monday, four state representatives filed as primary sponsors for HB 766, which would erase penalties for possessing four ounces or less of cannabis, making it “no longer unlawful.”
The bill would make the cut offs for drug offenses that qualify as misdemeanors and felonies higher. Under current law, possession of more than a half ounce makes your crime a misdemeanor. A felony awaits those convicted of more than one and a half ounces. Under the new bill, you would have to be convicted of possession of more than four ounces to get a misdemeanor, and more than a whopping 16 ounces for it to qualify as a felony.
HB 766 would also compel the Department of Justice to review court records and expunge all possession charges of less four ounces of marijuana, allowing individuals to file their own petition with the court system before the DOJ’s deadline of July 1, 2020. It’s not the most agile system that has been proposed for such a process of retroactive justice — for each expungement, a hearing would be required