Marijuana Trafficking through Charlotte Douglas International Airport
North Carolina has not legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana use. However, that’s not stopping state residents from trying to take advantage of the evolving laws elsewhere in the country. The District of Columbia and 33 states have legalized cannabis in some form, and D.C. and 10 states have legalized recreational use for those over 21 years old.
This gives North Carolina residents ample opportunity to lawfully purchase marijuana products in other states, and some residents have attempted driving or flying home with it.
You may not think much of this. You go on vacation in Seattle or Los Angeles, purchase a few personal cannabis products, and assume you will tuck them into your bag. What you may not realize is that this could be a crime. Once you land in North Carolina with marijuana, you are violating the law. If you try to bring back large quantities, you may face a felony for marijuana trafficking.
If you are arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for flying with cannabis on your person or in your bags, you should call Randall & Stump, PLLC right away. Call us today at (980) 237-4579, or reach out through the online contact form to schedule a free consultation of your case.
Marijuana Trafficking at Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Toward the end of 2018 and into 2019, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport has experienced several instances of drug trafficking. In December 2018, a 21-year-old man was caught bringing in $34,000 worth of marijuana. A week before, the police arrested a 70-year-old man for bringing in $27,000 worth of marijuana.
In both of these cases, the person in question had a large and valuable quantity of cannabis. These instances are obviously a concern to police, who recognize that the individuals likely intended to sell or distribute the drugs.
That being said, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and police are looking out for any amount of marijuana. If you arrive at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with a personal amount of marijuana, you may not face felony trafficking charges, but you will still be charged with a drug crime.
Defining Drug Trafficking Under North Carolina Law
Drug trafficking in North Carolina means someone possesses or controls a certain amount of a drug with the intention of selling, delivering, moving, or holding that amount. There are specific amounts that dictate when a prosecutor will seek trafficking charges instead of possession with intent to distribute charges.
For cannabis, the threshold for trafficking charges begins at 10 pounds, according to North Carolina General Statute (NCGS) §90-95(h)(1). If you arrive at the airport with at least 10 pounds of marijuana, you will face felony drug trafficking charges.
The four levels of marijuana trafficking crimes depend on the amount in question:
- 10 to 50 pounds (NCGS §90-95(h)(1)(a)) – Class H felony, punishable by 25 to 39 months in prison, and fines reaching $5,000.
- 50 to 2,0000 pounds (NCGS §90-95(h)(1)(b)) – Class G felony, punishable by 35 to 51 months in prison, and a fine up to $25,000.
- 2,000 to 10,000 pounds (NCGS §90-95(h)(1)(a)) – Class F felony, punishable by 70 to 93 months in prison, and fines reaching $50,000 fine.
- 10,000 pounds or more (NCGS §90-95(h)(1)(a)) – Class D felony, punishable by 175 to 222 months in prison, and a $200,000 fine.
What Happens if the TSA Catches You with Marijuana?
If a TSA employee identifies the marijuana in North Carolina, then you may face federal or state charges. The TSA’s protocol is to call in local law enforcement when an employee identifies an illegal substance. Because of this, you will likely be arrested and charged under North Carolina law.
However, under federal law, marijuana is still a Schedule I controlled substance, and entirely illegal. If you have a large and valuable quantity of marijuana, your case may go to federal prosecutors.
Do Not Hesitate to Call a Charlotte Marijuana Defense Attorney
Whether you are accused of possessing a personal amount of marijuana or of trafficking marijuana through Charlotte Douglas International Airport, we recommend you contact Randall & Stump, PLLC right away. We are here to thoroughly review the facts of your case and vigorously defend you in court. We will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.