NC Marijuana Paraphernalia Is Now Decriminalized to Class 3 Misdemeanor

   Oddly, up until December 1st of 2014, a person charged with Marijuana related drug paraphernalia was facing a class 1 misdemeanor. This placed the paraphernalia near the top of the misdemeanor severity level with only A1 being higher,  while the actual marijuana itself is almost always seized and charged at under .5 oz. , a class 3 misdemeanor. What most people didn't realize was that the bag, the grinder, the bottle, and as far as I know your pants qualify as drug paraphernalia. So you racked up a class one misdemeanor which could carry active time. Also the class 1 misdemeanor could be used to enhance felony sentencing  if you're ever convicted of a felony.

   What this means now is if you have fewer than 4 prior misdemeanor charges on your record, you are only liable for a fine for class 3 drug paraphernalia if you're convicted of marijuana related paraphernalia. In a conservative state like NC, the reason for this change, I believe, is primarily because it cuts out the expense of appointing a lawyer for paraphernalia to indigent defendants, and it avoids jail expenses since you can't be sentenced to jail as a punishment for class 3. However, it encourages many to view these charges as benign and that could be a mistake for your record. 

   If you are charged with class 3 marijuana paraphernalia and can't benefit from a diversion program that will lead to dismissal, then you may have more incentive now to challenge the search, seizure, and other issues with the citation that led to the charges. If you lose, there is nothing to do but pay a fine, assuming the Marijuana paraphernalia is the most severe charge and your record doesn't contain 4 or more priors. If you've been charged with drug paraphernalia other than Marijuana related, your charge is still a class 1. Unfortunately we couldn't be as progressive as SC, where drug paraphernalia is charged as a civil infraction. If you've been charged with drugs and/or paraphernalia in Asheville or surrounding: