North Carolina Drug Testing Laws and Regulations


North Carolina

Statute of Order

N.C. Gen. Stat. §95-230 et seq.

Covered Employers

Public and private employers.

Applicant Testing

Applicant testing not subject to restriction.

Employee Testing

Employee testing not subject to restriction.

Conditions & Methods

Testing only by approved laboratory, documentation showing chain of custody, and confirming test in case of positive findings.

Important Bulletpoints

Although the regulation on drug testing exists it does not require employers to conduct drug testing. If employers choose to enact drug and alcohol testing programs for their employees, the provisions of the law must be strictly observed. Employers who violate the regulations may be penalized up to a maximum amount of $1,000, with up to $250 per affected employee.

Employers who will enforce workplace drug testing must provide their employees as examinees with written notice of their rights and responsibilities as enumerate in the Controlled Substances Examination Regulation Act.

Employers must pay for the costs of all controlled substance examinations while the costs of retests requested by the employee are at the employee’s expense.

Prospective employees may be subject to on-site drug testing using a US Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health and Human Services approved single-use test device. Current employees may be screened only by an approved drug testing laboratory. Retesting of positive samples may be performed only by an approved laboratory chosen by the employee.

For collection and transport of testing samples, the employer has the option to do the tasks himself, send the employee to the approved laboratory or have a third party contractor such as a physician, medical clinic, hospital or a consortium to perform the said tasks.

The act of defrauding drug or alcohol tests constitutes a Class I misdemeanor for a first offense while subsequent offenses constitute a Class I felony.

Medical Marijuana Law

Marijuana, even for medical use, is illegal in North Carolina.

Representative Kelly Alexander introduced HB 78, the comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, in February 2015. The house bill, if passed and signed would have safeguarded residents of North Carolina suffering from serious medical conditions and as recommended and attested by qualified physicians, from arrest and prosecution for using medical cannabis. The bill also laid out a system for the production, cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana and related by-products. This would have ensured that qualified patients prescribed with cannabis have reliable and safe access to cannabis for medical use. The following March, The House Judiciary Committee had negative report on the bill, thus voting against the house bill. Proponents of this bill are most likely to introduce a new legislation at the start of the new season.

However, the North Carolina Epilepsy Alternative Treatment Act was passed by the North Carolina senate and signed by Governor Pat McCrory in 2014. Before being modified in 2015, this law required a neurologist to be part of a study before recommending who are qualified to use hemp extract for treating epilepsy. Also amended was definition of hemp extract in relation to its cannabinoids content. On August 1, 2015, the law took effect.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

• Only patients with difficult or intractable epilepsy may be exempted from possible criminal laws for possessing and using hemp extract


• The amended law exempts patients suffering from difficult or intractable epilepsy from any criminal liabilities for possessing and using hemp extract with 0.0% THC and 5% cannabidiol.

• In-stated, production of hemp extracts is not allowed.

Recreational Marijuana Law

There is currently no pending bill for the legalization of marijuana in North Carolina. HB 983 is a bill for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. However, the state of North Carolina has to some degree decriminalized marijuana.


• No prison time or criminal record for possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use is afforded for first-time offenders only.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

Employers are allowed to require applicants and employees to undergo drug testing in the workplace, as long as the employer adheres to state procedures. Employers may require drug testing of applicants as a condition of employment. An employer may request drug tests on employees under any circumstances.


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Material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as substitute for obtaining legal advice from attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm BioSciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.

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