As the nation continues to discuss drug law reform, it is important to stay updated regarding the drug laws in Maryland. Take a moment to understand legal terms and consequences regarding Maryland drug laws.

Decriminalization

In 2014, Maryland passed a decriminalization law that states that possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana is no longer a crime; however, possession of more than 10 grams is still a crime that can be punishable by a year in jail and a $1000 fine. In other words, decriminalization simply means that there are less severe consequences for possessing small amounts of a controlled substance.

Controlled Substances

A controlled substance is one whose use and distribution is governed by the law. State and federal governments classify these substances under different levels. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I, and common medications such as cough medicine with low levels of codeine are listed as Schedule V.

Possession

Possession refers to knowingly and intentionally possessing a controlled substance without a valid prescription and in a quantity sufficient for personal use and sale. Possession of paraphernalia, which includes all equipment and materials used in the use, manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance, is a crime punishable by a $500 fine for a first offense and two years in jail for a repeat offense. The term possession with intent to distribute carries a heavier sentence and is considered a felony. This usually involves cases concerning larger quantities of a controlled substance (e.g. 50 lbs of marijuana).

Distribution and Trafficking

Distribution is the charge in which one is accused of selling, delivering or providing controlled substances illegally while trafficking refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance.

Cultivation

The cultivation or manufacture of a controlled substance includes growing, possessing or producing naturally occurring elements in order to make illegal controlled substances, such as marijuana plants. In Maryland, cultivation is punished as either a simple possession or possession with intent to distribute.

ENLawyers Bottom Line

The consequences of these charges vary based on the type and quantity of the controlled substance as well as the circumstances in which the defendant is apprehended such as the location and involvement of minors. Various states are pushing to reform the legality, decriminalization and punishment for drugs and drug related crimes; therefore, it is important to understand the most current state laws and the consequences of violating them. If you find yourself in a legal situation that relates to drug possession, contact the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman today.