Missouri Sale of a Controlled Substance Laws

Learn about the penalties for selling drugs in Missouri.

By , Contributing Author

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. Missouri 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 manufacture and sale of CDS only. Possessing CDS for personal use carries different penalties. For more information on possession of CDS for personal use, see Possession of Controlled Substances in Missouri.

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

How Missouri Classifies CDS

Missouri 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.

The sentencing judge may also use these classes to determine the applicable penalties for illegally making or selling specific CDS (described in the next section).

If you've been arrested for illegal CDS production or sales, you'll need to consult the Missouri Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 195.017) and find the substance you're charged with selling -- it will be listed under one of the five classes.

Penalties for Making, Selling, or Trafficking CDS

It is illegal in Missouri to make, sell, or possess CDS with the intent to do these things; with few exceptions, such as a doctor who legally prescribes a prescription medication. The judge will consider the schedule and amount of CDS involved when determining the applicable penalties within the ranges described below. (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 195.211.)

Making CDS

In Missouri, illegally making CDS is a class A felony, punishable with at least ten (and up to 30) years in prison.

Selling CDS

Illegally selling CDS (or possesses CDS with the intent to sell it) is a class is guilty of a class B felony, punishable with at least five (and up to 15) years in prison.


"Trafficking" in a CDS refers to possessing, buying, bringing into state (or attempting to do any of these things) involving specified amounts and types of substances. These CDS include (but aren't limited to) heroin, cocaine, lysergic acid (LSD), phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.

Penalties vary according to the amount and type of CDS involved, and can include long prison sentences. For example, trafficking in 450 grams or more of methamphetamine, or one gram or more of LSD is a class A felony, punishable with at least ten (and up to 30) years in prison. (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 195.223.)

Second and Subsequent Offenses

Missouri classifies defendants with one prior felony conviction as "prior offenders." A "persistent offender" is a defendant with two or more prior felony convictions.

Judges may sentence prior offenders according to either the penalties applicable to the offense (described above) or to another term of imprisonment if specified by a statute governing the offense (if one exists). For persistent offenders, the judge may sentence the defendant to the next higher category of punishment than the category that would otherwise apply to the offense. For example, if the offense is normally a class B felony, the judge may sentence the persistent offender defendant to a prison term applicable to a class A felony. The only limit is that a class A felony prison term cannot be increased, because it is already the harshest term available for CDS manufacture, sales, and trafficking crimes. (Mo. Stat. Ann. § 558.016.)

Talk to an Attorney

CDS manufacture or sale convictions can incur 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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