All states regulate and control the sale of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for sale. Washington 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 illegal manufacture and sale of CDS only. Illegally possessing CDS for personal use carries different penalties. For more information on possession of CDS for personal use, see Possession of Controlled Substances in Washington.
Also, while marijuana is considered a CDS, this article does not cover Washington’s marijuana possession and sale laws. To learn more about that topic, see Washington Marijuana Laws.
How Washington Classifies CDS
Washington 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.
If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS production or sales, you’ll need to consult the Washington Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statutes (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.204, -.206, -.208, -.210, -.212) and find the substance you're charged with selling -- it will be listed under one of the five schedules.
Penalties for Making or Selling CDS
It is illegal in Washington to make or sell CDS (or possess CDS with the intent do these things). Penalties vary according to the type of CDS involved, and whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.401.)
Schedule I and II narcotic CDS, flunitrazepam, and, and amphetamine
It is illegal to make or sell Schedule I or II narcotic CDS, flunitrazepam, or amphetamines (including precursors, such as ephedrine). Penalties for violations involving less than two kilograms include a fine of up to $25,000, up to ten years in prison, or both. Violations involving two or more kilograms incur a fine of up to $100,000 for the first two kilograms (and up to $50 for each additional gram in excess of two grams), up to ten years in prison, or both.
For any conviction involving amphetamine, the mandatory minimum fine is $3,000, to be deposited with the law enforcement agency responsible for methamphetamine manufacture clean up operations in Washington.
Any other CDS
Penalties for making or selling any other CDS include a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both.
Violations that occurred on or within 1,000 feet of any of the following drug-free areas (or on a school bus or public transit vehicle) incur up to double the fines, prison time, or both that would otherwise apply to the underlying crime. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.435.)
- A school
- School bus stop
- Public transit vehicle stop or waiting area
- Public park
- Public housing project designated as a drug-free zone
- A civic center designated as a drug-free zone
Second and Subsequent Offenses
Second and subsequent convictions incur up to double the fines, prison time, or both that would otherwise apply to the underlying crime. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.408.)
Talk to an Attorney
CDS manufacture or sale convictions can incur harsh 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.