Cocaine laws in North Carolina

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Drug Crimes

Cocaine is commonly made into a powder from the coca plant native to South America. Since it is highly addictive, controlled substance laws make it illegal in Greensboro, North Carolina. A person caught buying, selling or possessing it can face serious charges.

North Carolina drug law overview

North Carolina bases drug possession charges on six schedules, which are grouped according to addiction risk, public health risk and medical benefit. Schedule I substances are the most addictive, which include heroin, ecstasy, morphine and LSD, with no approved medical benefit.

Schedule II substances include cocaine and many pain medications, such as hydrocodone, that have a restricted medical use. Schedules III to VI include steroids, ketamine, over-the-counter medications and antidepressants, which are the least addictive. While many of these substances are legal, a person cannot possess prescription drugs except from a licensed physician.


Simple possession of any amount of cocaine includes penalties of up to one year of jail and a $1,000 fine for a first offense. However, the penalties may increase to possession with intent to sell if large amounts of money, scales and other paraphernalia are found. Selling less than 28 grams is a Class G felony, which includes fines and a 31-month jail term or more, depending on circumstances.

Trafficking charges start at 28 to 2,000 grams, with penalties of a $50,000 fine and 35 to 51 months of jail. Trafficking between 200 and 400 grams of cocaine carries a penalty of up to 39 months in jail plus a $100,000 fine. If a defendant is caught with between half a kilogram up to 5 kilograms, federal penalties apply, including a maximum of five years in jail.

Sometimes, federal charges still apply even if the state doesn’t prosecute. In either case, the prosecutors must present the facts, which can be challenged. First offenders may be able to qualify for alternative sentencing, such as drug education.