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Federal marijuana distribution penalties

North Carolina residents accused of crossing the state border while distributing marijuana -- or those who are accused of distributing large amounts of marijuana on federal property -- could find themselves facing federal marijuana distribution charges. Since marijuana is categorized as a Class 1 drug under federal law, these charges come with the threat of very serious consequences.

Federal law dictates that individuals convicted of distributing marijuana will face the following penalties:

  • Up to 50 marijuana plants (or 50 kilograms of pot): Can be punished with a maximum of five years in prison and fines of as much as $250,000.
  • Between 50 and 99 marijuana plants (or between 50 and 99 kilograms of pot): The penalty could be as much as 20 years in prison and fines of as much as $1 million.
  • Between 100 and 999 marijuana plants (or between 100 and 999 kilograms of pot): The penalty could be as much as 40 years in prison and fines of between $2 and $5 million.
  • Over 999 marijuana plants (or over 999 kilograms of pot): The penalty could be as much as 10 years to life in prison and fines of between $4 and $10 million.

All of the above penalties can be doubled if the distribution involves a minor below the age of 21 or happens within 1,000 feet of a playground, school or public housing. They can also be doubled if the distribution happens within 100 feet of a video arcade, public pool or youth center.

Regardless of whether the charges relate to state or federal crimes, North Carolina residents accused of any federal marijuana violations have the legal right to defend themselves in court. If you're facing any kind of marijuana-related charges, a criminal defense lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and options.

Source: norml.org, "Federal laws and penalties," accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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