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North Carolina Criminal Law 90-95: Trafficking in Marijuana

trafficking in marijuana The crime of trafficking in marijuana is a felony defined as a person who knowingly sells and/or conspires to sell (manufacture, deliver, transport, or possess) marijuana to another person in an amount that exceeds 10 pounds.

To prove a defendant committed the crime of trafficking in marijuana, a prosecutor must establish the following prima facie elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. A person knowingly
  2. Sells, manufactures, delivers, transports or possesses or
  3. Conspires to sell, manufacture, deliver, transport or possess
  4. Marijuana
  5. To another person (if the person sells or deliver), and
  6. The quantity of marijuana is:
    • In excess of 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds or
    • 50 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds or
    • 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds or
    • 10,000 pounds or more
1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

“Transportation” means the real carrying about or movement from one place to another. Examples include a defendant removing marijuana from a dwelling and carrying them to an undercover agent’s car and a defendant carries marijuana from his house to his truck and begins to back out of the driveway.

“Marijuana” is defined in G.S. 90-87(16).

The weight of the marijuana is determined at the time of the seizure and includes moisture in the marijuana. The weight is not determined at the time it is usable/suitable for consumption.

Trafficking by sale, manufacture, delivery, transportation and possession are separate offense for which a defendant may be separately convicted and punished.

2. Examples

Evidence is sufficient to prove that the amount of marijuana is over 10,000 pounds when one load seized from a field, wet and including dirt and mature stalks weighed 16,620 pounds.

Defendant throws 15 pounds of marijuana out of his car into the bushes in order to avoid being caught by law enforcement. Defendant can be charged with trafficking in marijuana by transportation.

Police find a trash bag containing 1,000 to 2,000 plastic dime bags of marijuana near the garage. Police also find a scale and a vacuum sealer in the kitchen. Defendant can be charged with trafficking in marijuana.

3. Related Offenses
  1. Possession with the Intent Sell or Deliver Marijuana
  2. Sale or Delivery of Marijuana
  3. Simple Possession of Marijuana
  4. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
4. Defenses to Trafficking in Marijuana (FELONY)

The Defendant has the burden to show that they were authorized by the Controlled Substances Act to sell, deliver, manufacture or transport the marijuana.

5. Penalties

The punishment for trafficking in marijuana varies based on the weight of the product. For example:

  • In excess of 10 pounds but less than 50 pounds is a Class H felony punishable by a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 25 months and a mandatory maximum of 30 months and a mandatory minimum fine of $5,000.
  • 50 pounds or more but less than 2,000 pounds is a Class G felony punishable by a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 35 months and a mandatory maximum of 42 months and a mandatory minimum fine of $25,000.
  • 2,000 pounds or more but less than 10,000 pounds is a Class F felony punishable by a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 70 months and a mandatory maximum of 84 months and a mandatory minimum fine of $50,000.
  • 10,000 pounds or more is a Class F felony punishable by a mandatory minimum period of incarceration of 175 months and a mandatory maximum of 219 months and a mandatory minimum fine of $200,000.

Additionally, sentences must run consecutively to any sentences being served at the time of sentencing.

6. Criminal Defense for Trafficking in Marijuana Trafficking in Marijuana

If you have been charged with a trafficking crime, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Trafficking charges carry the potential for lengthy active prison times with mandatory minimum prison time upon conviction. A felony offense on your record can seriously impede your chance to live a meaningful and productive life.

At Powers Law Firm PA, we understand the North Carolina criminal laws and federal law as they pertain to trafficking crimes. Please do not hesitate and call us today.

Charlotte Criminal Defense Attorney Bill Powers is Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification / National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBLSC/NBTA).

Megan S. Powell and Chris J. Beddow are part of Powers Law Firm PA, North Carolina criminal law defense team.

It’s imperative to begin your defense without delay. Please call 704-342-4357 immediately to speak to one our Charlotte Criminal Lawyers. Legal consultations for criminal charges are FREE OF CHARGE.

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