Potential Shift in Federal Law Could Impact NC Hemp Business

CHARLOTTE, NC -The push for marijuana legalization in North Carolina is getting a boost. The U.S. Attorney General this week expressed a potential shift in federal law, which could have major implications for North Carolina.

Cannabis is illegal on a federal level, but the federal government hasn’t been enforcing the law. But banks and other financial institutions sometimes don’t want to take on the risk of working with a business that operates in a gray area. So people like Ellen Tacher, who runs a CBD Oil business with hemp plants called Prime Sunshine, get denied.

“Brings your business down to its knees,” said Tacher, “If you can’t use QuickBooks, you can’t have a bank.”

CBD is a legal operation in North Carolina, but there may be a shift in the federal mindset surrounding hemp and cannabis that could have future implications.

“The way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney General William Barr during a committee hearing.

Barr showed some support for state’s rights. While the previous Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, had a much different view of cannabis.

“We need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized,” said Sessions while serving as a state senator during a 2016 hearing.

Thirty states have some form of legalized medical marijuana. Advocates say North Carolina is behind, but they also say public perception and proposed state legislation are moving closer to catching up.

Right now there are five bills related to marijuana making their way through the state general assembly. They deal with everything from legalizing medical marijuana, to setting a regulatory framework for the hemp industry, to decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis.

“I see a huge shift,” said Tacher, “This time last year, doctors were not sending their patients into my office.”

While Tacher is encouraged by the move for legalization, she cautions there is still a ways to go.

“It’s going to take some time,” said Tacher, “I would say give or take another year or two to slowly move away from that gray area.”