Maryland’s controlled substance laws are designed to reduce the abuse and subsequent harm associated with the use of certain medications, drugs and narcotics. There are different schedules for controlled dangerous substances based on the drug’s accepted medical use and potential for abuse.
With a variety of fines, penalties and potential jail time in some cases, it’s important to know which schedule it falls under in order to understand the penalties you may be facing.
Possession, intent to distribute and trafficking
Maryland categorizes drugs into Schedules I through V, including marijuana, heroin and cocaine, among others. Depending on the Schedule, the weight or quantity of a controlled substance in one’s possession will determine if its possession is considered a misdemeanor or felony.
Schedule I and II drugs include heroin, LSD, marijuana, cocaine, meth, and fentanyl. These drugs have the highest potential of leading to a substance abuse disorder. In November 2022, Maryland’s citizens voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, allowing adults over 21 to possess up to 1.5 ounces, beginning July 1, 2023.
However, anything greater than 1.5 ounces for personal use can result in a civil offense or misdemeanor. If you have more than 50 kgs of marijuana or plan to distribute or traffic the substance, you will face felony charges. Penalties range from 5-40 years of imprisonment, and fines ranging from $10,00 to $1,000,000. Intent to distribute other Schedule I or II drugs carry a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
If you are charged with intent to sell in Maryland, it is critical to understand the seriousness of this offense. Working with someone who can advise you on the best steps forward and what kind of evidence and witnesses may be used against you in court is essential. They can help ensure your rights are respected throughout the entire process. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to get a reduced sentence.