All states regulate and control the possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for possession. Maine classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as CDS, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
This article discusses the possession of CDS for personal use only. Making and selling CDS carries different penalties. For more information on illegal manufacture and sale of CDS, and the related penalties, see Sale of a Controlled Substance Maine.
Also, while considered a CDS, this article does not cover Maine’s marijuana possession and sale laws. To learn more about that topic, see Maine Marijuana Laws.
Maine divides CDS into five “schedules.” Schedule W lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules X, Y, and Z decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse and increase in recognized medical uses.
These schedules are also used to determine the applicable penalties for illegally possessing specific CDS (described in the next section). If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS possession, you’ll need to consult the Maine Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (17-A Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1102) and find the substance you're charged with possessing -- it will be listed under one of the four Schedules.
It is illegal in Maine to possess CDS without a valid prescription. Penalties vary according to the Schedule and amount of the CDS involved. (17-A Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 1107-A.)
Illegally possessing specified amounts of some Schedule W substances (such as more than 14 grams of cocaine) is a class B crime. Penalties include a fine of up to $20,000, at least five (and up to ten) years in prison, or both. Possessing other Schedule W substances (such as, but not limited to, heroin, methamphetamine, or Oxycodone), is a class C crime. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, at least three (and up to five) years in prison, or both. Possessing any other Schedule W substance is a class D crime, which incurs a fine of up to $2,000, at least one (and up to three) years in prison, or both.
Illegally possessing a Schedule X substance is a class D crime. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, at least one (and up to three) years in prison, or both.
Illegally possessing a Schedule Y or Z substance is a class E crime. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
CDS possession convictions incur both heavy fines and long periods of incarceration. A local lawyer who practices CDS defense will review the facts of your case, explain your options, and advise you of the possible consequences.