Cannabis news abounds: Virginia legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and up this year; our General Assembly has been considering a medicinal marijuana bill (S.B. 711); the Court of Appeals recently acknowledged (but did not decide) that precedent on the odor of marijuana as probable cause and on visual identification of the substance “may need to be re-examined” in light of legal hemp. State v. Parker, ___ N.C. App. ___, 860 S.E.2d 21, 29 (2021) (more on those issues here). I will write about the still-evolving issues with marijuana prosecutions in the state again soon. Today, though, I want to focus delta-8 THC. What is it? Is it legal? If so, how? Turns out the first question is simpler than the rest.
I recently taught on the basics of drug law in North Carolina and was reminded just what a tricky area it can be. Chapter 90 of the N.C. General Statutes is a dense, complex, and ever-evolving set of laws proscribing controlled substances. There are many substances, offenses, enhancements, and sentencing rules to know, as well as evidence issues and offense-specific case law. One thorny area involves the law of drug mixtures. While practitioners handling felony drug cases may be aware of the rules here, they may come as a surprise to others. Some applications of the law in this area can produce unexpected results for the unwary defendant. Today’s post examines the rules of drug mixtures and their implications in North Carolina.
The advent of cannabis legalization across the country has led to a proliferation of new types of cannabis products. There are skin patches, food and drinks (for humans and pets), vaporizer or “vape” cartridges (or “carts”), and different concentrate or extract products (“dabs”, “wax” or “shatter”, among other names). [Click that last link and scroll down to see a chart listing the different forms of extracts and their names.] The products can be made from lawful hemp, or from illegal marijuana alike. The illegal versions have found their way into North Carolina, and questions abound regarding how to handle these cases. The questions most commonly involve wax and cartridges, so this post takes a look at the issues surrounding those cases (leaving the skin patches and edibles for another day).