The drug crisis has gripped Maryland’s youth, luring users as young as 12 years old. Not only does the presence of drugs distract students from learning or hurt their future, but it can also endanger their lives. As a result, harsh consequences await those who distribute or sell illegal substances nearby or on school premises.
A brief look into Maryland’s drug laws
In Maryland, possession of any drug other than marijuana constitutes a felony. Compared to possession for personal use, the repercussions are more severe for those caught with the intent to distribute or sell illicit substances.
In addition, the penalties become harsher if the crime is committed on or near school grounds. For example, selling cocaine is normally punishable by 20 years of jail time and fines up to $20,000. However, peddling cocaine to minors or within the vicinity of a school can increase the maximum jail time to 40 years.
When a minor is involved, the penalty for selling marijuana increases from 5 years in prison and $15,000 in fines to 20 years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
The impact of selling drugs in or near schools
Drug usage among the youth is associated with declining performance at school and poorer attendance. Additionally, experimenting with drugs at such a young age may also put them at higher risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.
Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that the youth are buying and using drugs that they obtained from someone at school. If the seller is also a student, acting quickly might prevent the matter from escalating and leading to worse outcomes. With such severe penalties for drug distribution on school property, those accused should take it seriously, understand their rights and consider seeking legal representation.