Possession of a Controlled Substance in Maryland

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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. Maryland 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 Maryland.

Also, while marijuana is considered a CDS, this article does not cover Maryland’s marijuana possession and sale laws. To learn more about that topic, see Maryland Marijuana Laws.

How Maryland Classifies CDS

Maryland divides CDS into five “schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V 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 Maryland Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (Md. Ann. Code. § 5-402, 5-403, 5-404, 5-405, & 5-406) and find the substance you're charged with possessing -- it will be listed under one of the five Schedules.

Penalties for Illegal CDS Possession

It is illegal in Maine to possess CDS without a valid prescription. Penalties include a fine of u to $25,000, up to four years in prison, or both. (Md. Ann. Code. § 5-601(c)(1).)

Talk to an Attorney

CDS manufacture or sale 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.

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