Media Law Handbook



7. What are the restrictions on advertising fireworks sales or displays?
4. How does the state regulate alcoholic beverage advertising?

5. Are drug paraphernalia ads legal?

Generally, no, they are not.  Since 1994, it  has been a misdemeanor  in North Carolina for anyone to “purchase or otherwise procure” advertisements in media like newspapers, magazines and “other publications” with the intent “to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.”[100]  However, it can be difficult to determine whether an advertisement actually involves “drug paraphernalia.”   Generally, the statutes define “drug paraphernalia” as “all equipment, products and material of any kind that are used to facilitate, or intended or designed to facilitate” any violations of controlled substances laws including “planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, and concealing controlled substances and injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing controlled substances into the human body.”[101] 

Examples of “drug paraphernalia” in the statutes include equipment used for growing or harvesting plants that produce controlled substances; scales and other equipment used to weigh or measure controlled substances; chemicals used in the processing of controlled substances; and devices used to inject, ingest or inhale controlled substances into the body including syringes and pipes.[102]  Obviously, otherwise legal items could be advertised or promoted in connection with the production or use of illegal controlled substances.  Under the statutes, whether a particular item is considered illegal “drug paraphernalia” under the circumstances depends on a number of factors including the manner in which the item is described or depicted in advertising.[103]  Therefore, the context of an advertisement involving suspected drug paraphernalia is important to review carefully with these points in mind.



[100] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-113.24.

[101] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-113.21(a).

[102] Id.  Specifically, the statutes include the following non-exclusive list of examples of “drug paraphernalia” that may not be advertised:

(1) Kits for planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

(2) Kits for manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;

(3) Isomerization devices for increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;

(4) Testing equipment for identifying, or analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of controlled substances;  

(5) Scales and balances for weighing or measuring controlled substances;

(6) Diluents and adulterants, such as quinine, hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose, and lactose for mixing with controlled substances;

(7) Separation gins and sifters for removing twigs and seeds from, or otherwise cleaning or refining, marijuana;  

(8) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices for compounding controlled substances;

(9) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers for packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

(10) Containers and other objects for storing or concealing controlled substances;

(11) Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects for parenterally injecting controlled substances into the body;

(12) Objects for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the body such as[:]  

a. Metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls;

b. Water pipes;

c. Carburetion tubes and devices;

d. Smoking and carburetion masks;

e. Objects, commonly called roach clips, for holding burning material, such as a marijuana cigarette, that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand;

f. Miniature cocaine spoons and cocaine vials;

g. Chamber pipes;

h. Carburetor pipes;

i. Electric pipes;

j. Air-driven pipes;

k. Chillums;

l. Bongs; [and]

m. Ice pipes or chillers.


[103] Id. at (b)(9).

7. What are the restrictions on advertising fireworks sales or displays?
4. How does the state regulate alcoholic beverage advertising?

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