CBD in North Carolina is safe once more after a recent push to criminalize it came dangerously close to succeeding. CBD laws in North Carolina had previously been dependent on a temporary law passed in 2015 which legalized the plant for a period of 7 years.

The expiration of this law would have set farmers of the plant up to be criminals in the span of 24 hours when Senate Bill 455 came through. The newly ratified law states that it is:

An Act to conform the hemp laws with federal law by permanently excluding hemp from the State Controlled Substances Act

As a result, hemp (defined as below .3% THC) has stronger legality in CBD North Carolina Law. Interestingly, the law also removes THC molecules found in hemp from the Controlled Substances list. While anything outside of that .3% limit is still illegal, this represents a large step forward for the state.

A Big Win

Farmers, producers, and retailers had no indication that any safety would be coming until the day before the law was set to expire. For many, it must have felt as though an impending doom was upon them before the government stepped up in the 11th hour. The legality of CBD in North Carolina was always temporary so all producers and retailers had their eyes on the impending deadline.

While it seems like a small victory for CBD to finally go through a legalization process like this in the year 2022, it’s still a big win for everyone in the industry. It’s this very industry that seems to be the main focus for State Governor Roy Cooper who made the following statement in a press release:

Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry and giving North Carolina farmers certainty that they can continue to participate in this growing market is the right thing to do for rural communities and our economy

As for CBD, North Carolina legalizing it in this way is not very usual and it offers CBD and hemp a level of protection that is not found in every state. In that sense, this is a rather large win for hemp as a whole.

North Carolina’s Hemp Industry

Cultivation of industrial hemp has been legal in North Carolina since 2017. In that time, the industry has grown to a place where there are now over 1,500 hemp producers with a license to produce hemp in the state. 

Hemp production in North Carolina is 8th in the country, representing 4% of the total production of hemp in the nation. That works out to 2,150 acres of hemp planted throughout the state, producing 3 million pounds of hemp per year.

While the tardiness of action is frustrating, it’s worth noting that it did wind up saving an industry that brought in over $10.5m last year. Hopefully, this will help other states to see the importance of protecting the plant that so many of its citizens enjoy so much. After all, aren’t representatives supposed to represent the needs of their constituents?

What Took So Long?

As a hemp retailer put it in a quote to the Avery Journal, “I don’t appreciate the drama of taking it to the last moment but the fact that hemp is now … here to stay in North Carolina … I’m a happy man.”

The Senate voted 41-2 in favor of the bill that passed (Republican Senators Steve Jarvis and Carl Ford being the only to vote “nay.”) The bill had bipartisan support with one 21 Republican “ayes” and 20 from the democrats. The legality of hemp is not a complicated issue and support for it is overwhelming.

So it’s hard to not ask the question: what took so long? 

Why did a government that is largely in support of this legislation moving forward keep its citizens on farms and in their shops dangling? All the way until the day before they’d turn into felons for their previously legal industry, citizens didn’t know their own fate.

Maybe we should just be glad that hemp is legal “now” and “to stay” in North Carolina but it’s hard to not still feel a bit of that sting from that. This doesn’t seem like the kind of issue that has nuance, it’s widely accepted and encouraged.


CBD is an industry that often lives in constant uncertainty. Whether it’s arbitrary laws, advertising limitations, banking regulations, or other restrictions, CBD companies often have very little certainty.

Legislation that states that hemp is permanently safe from the controlled substances act within the state is a fantastic movement forward. It would be nice to see other states take similar steps to protect the local businesses, farmers, and producers that all contribute so much to the economy of their state.

We hope to see this become a stronger movement throughout the country and lead to greater ease of regulations for the people within it.

By J Gordon Curtis

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