All states regulate the possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for illegal possession. 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 possession of CDS for personal use only. Illegally making or selling CDS carries different penalties. For more information on illegal CDS manufacture and sale, see Sale 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. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.204, -.206, -.208, -.210, -.212.)
Penalties for Possessing CDS
It is illegal in Washington to possess any CDS, within any of the five Schedules and no matter the amount, without a valid medical prescription. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, up to five years in prison, or both. (Wa. Rev. Code Ann. § 69.50.4013.)
Talk to an Attorney
CDS possession 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.