State v. Lofton, 372 N.C. 216 (May. 10, 2019)

On discretionary review of a unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals, ___ N.C. App. ___, 816 S.E.2d 207 (2018), the court held that a manufacturing marijuana indictment was not fatally defective. The indictment alleged that the defendant “did manufacture [marijuana] . . . by producing, preparing, propagating and processing a controlled substance.” The defendant was found guilty of attempting to manufacture marijuana and other charges, and he appealed. The offense of manufacturing a controlled substance does not require an intent to distribute unless the activity constituting manufacture is preparation or compounding. Here, the indictment alleged that the defendant manufactured marijuana in four different ways, only one of which required a showing of an intent to distribute. After acknowledging that certain ways in which the defendant allegedly manufactured did not require proof that he acted with an intent to distribute, the Court of Appeals concluded that it was necessary that all four of those bases were alleged with sufficiency to confer jurisdiction on the trial court. The Supreme Court found that conclusion to be inconsistent with prior case law establishing that the use of the conjunctive in an indictment does not require the State to prove the various alternative matters alleged. Assuming without deciding that a valid indictment charging manufacturing by preparing or compounding must allege that the defendant acted with an intent to distribute, the indictment gave the trial court jurisdiction to enter judgment for manufacturing given that it also alleged that he did so by producing, propagating, and processing.