North Carolina Legislation to Decriminalize Marijuana and Hash Passed Through First Reading in Senate

North Carolina Senate Bill 705 would decriminalize the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and allow for automatic expungements.

Filed by Senator Mujtaba Mohammed along with four cosponsors, the measure – titled the Equity in Justice Act of 2023 – has been passed through its first reading and assigned to the Senate Rules and Operations Committee.

In addition to making several changes not related to marijuana laws including a reformation of police policies, Senate Bill 705 would reclassify the possession of up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana and up to “three-twentieths of an ounce” of hash as an infraction instead of a misdemeanor, meaning it would no longer carry the potential of jailtime or a criminal record.

SB 705 would also facilitate a process for the expungement of past marijuana convictions, given they were of a nonviolent nature.

“If a person was charged with a misdemeanor violation of G.S. 90-95(a)(3) for possession of marijuana or hashish, and the person was convicted, the conviction shall be ordered to be automatically expunged no later than December 1, 2025”, states the measure.

The full text of SB 705 can be found by clicking here.

A separate measure in the House (HB 626) that would legalize marijuana and establish a system of marijuana retail outlets was passed through its first reading earlier this month.

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