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New bills take aim at marijuana drug charges

Across the country, various states are taking steps to change the laws around marijuana for medicinal and even recreational use. The latest state to consider new laws around the drug is North Carolina, where the legislature is considering a pair of bills aimed at decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. If passed, the bill could mean fewer drug charges related to the substance in the state.

The two bills in question are Senate Bill 791 and House Bill 994. The bills as currently written would make it legal to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana, provided they were meant for personal use. Currently, people can face drug charges resulting in up to 20 days in jail for possessing half an ounce or more.

Additionally, the bills would increase the threshold for Class One felony possession charges to 1 lb. of marijuana. Currently, it is 1.5 ounces. Although reporters say it is unlikely that the bills will move forward in their current form, they also note that if they were to be signed into law they would go into effect on July 1.

The bills are undoubtedly controversial, with some opponents referencing the detrimental effects of marijuana on adolescent brains as a reason to move cautiously. Statistics show Americans are torn on the issue, with 64 percent saying that smoking marijuana is morally acceptable. Despite these opinions, North Carolina law will have the final say on the drug charges people possessing certain amounts of the drug will face. Those facing such charges should speak with a defense lawyer in the state for legal guidance and representation.

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