Possession and Sale of a Controlled Substance in Michigan

Convictions for controlled substance crimes incur heavy fines and long periods of incarceration. Learn about the penalties in Michigan for drug possession and sale crimes.

All states regulate and control the possession and sale (or delivery) of controlled substances, though each differs in its exact definition of controlled substances and the applicable penalties.

Certain controlled substances are legally available by prescription or can be sold by authorized practitioners.

This article covers controlled substances other than marihuana (marijuana) and GHB. To learn more about marijuana laws, see Marijuana Possession: Laws & Penalties.

How Michigan Classifies Controlled Substances

Michigan divides controlled substances into five “schedules.” Schedule 1 lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction and no recognized medical value. Schedules 2, 3, 4, and 5 decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse and increase in recognized medical uses.

Examples of controlled substances included in each schedule are listed below.

  • Schedule 1: heroin, LSD, peyote, ecstasy, BZP
  • Schedule 2: morphine, codeine, oxycodone, cocaine, fentanyl
  • Schedule 3: benzphetamine, barbituric acids, ketamine
  • Schedule 4: lorazepam, diazepam, phenobarbital
  • Schedule 5: codeine mixed with nonnarcotics (such as cough syrups or cold medicines)

These classes are also used to determine the applicable penalties for illegally possessing or selling specific controlled substances (described in the next section). If you’ve been arrested for illegal controlled substances possession or sale, you’ll need to consult the Michigan Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each schedule. Go to the statute and find the substance you're charged with possessing or selling—it will be listed under one of the five schedules.

(Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.7212, -7214, -7216, -7218, 7220 (2019).)

Penalties for Controlled Substance Possession Crimes

Possession of a controlled substance is illegal without a valid prescription. Penalties vary according to the amount and type of controlled substances involved.

Schedule 1 or 2 Narcotic Substances and Cocaine

Penalties for illegal possession of a schedule 1 or 2 narcotic substance (such as heroin or morphine) or cocaine vary according to the amount involved.

  • 1,000 grams or more: penalty of up to life in prison, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both
  • 450 to 1,000 grams: penalty of up to 30 years in prison, a fine up to $500,000, or both
  • 50 to 450 grams: penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both
  • Less than 50 grams: penalty of up to 4 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000 fine, or both

Ecstasy and Methamphetamine

Penalties for illegal possession of Ecstasy or methamphetamine include a fine of up to $15,000, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Other Schedule 1, 2, 3, and 4 Substances

Illegally possessing any other schedule 1, 2, 3, or 4 controlled substance not otherwise listed above (and excluding marihuana) can incur a fine of up to $2,000, imprisonment up to two years, or both.

LSD, Peyote, Psilocyn (Psychedelic Mushrooms), and Schedule 5 Substances

Illegal possession of the following controlled substances is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than one years’ imprisonment, a $2,000 fine, or both: LSD, peyote, mescaline, dimethyltryptamine, psilocyn, psilocybin, or a schedule 5 drug.

(Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.7403 (2019).)

Penalties for Controlled Substance Sale (Delivery) Crimes

Unlawful sale of controlled substances carries stiff felony penalties in Michigan. The terms used in the law to refer to sale are “deliver” and “possession with intent to deliver.”

Schedule 1 or 2 Narcotic Substances and Cocaine

Penalties for illegal sale of a schedule 1 or 2 narcotic substance (such as heroin or morphine) or cocaine vary according to the amount involved.

  • 1,000 grams or more: penalty of up to life in prison, a fine up to $1,000,000, or both
  • 450 to 1,000 grams: penalty of up to 30 years in prison, a fine up to $500,000, or both
  • 50 to 450 grams: penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both
  • Less than 50 grams: penalty of up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $25,000 fine, or both

Ecstasy and Methamphetamine

Penalties for illegal sale of Ecstasy or methamphetamine include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both.

Other Schedule 1, 2, and 3 Substances

Illegally selling any other schedule 1, 2, or 3 substance not otherwise listed above (and excluding marihuana) can incur a fine of up to $10,000, up to seven years in jail, or both.

Schedule 4 and 5 Substances

Illegal sale of a schedule 4 substance carries penalties of up to four years in prison, a fine up to $2,000, or both. Penalties for illegal sale of schedule 5 substances include a fine of up to $2,000, up two years in prison, or both.

(Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.7401 (2019).)

Enhanced Penalties for Sale or Possession Crimes

Michigan imposes enhanced penalties for repeat offenses, crimes committed near schools, parks, or libraries, and selling drugs to a minor.

Delivering to a minor. Penalties can double when an adult (18 or older) delivers a controlled substance to a minor who’s at least three years younger than the seller. A mandatory one-year prison sentence applies when the drug is a schedule 1 or 2 narcotic or cocaine.

Public or private park. An additional two years can be added to an adult’s sentence for possessing certain controlled substances or selling them to minors in or within 1,000 feet of a public or private park.

School property or library. An adult who sells or possesses a controlled substance on or within 1,000 feet of school property or a library faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence up to a term of imprisonment that is:

  • for a delivery crime, three times that of the underlying offense, or
  • for a crime involving possession with or without intent to deliver, two times that of the underlying offense.

Repeat offenses. A repeat controlled substance offense carries a possible sentence of two times that of the underlying offense. If the offense was committed on or within 1,000 feet of school property or a library, the offender faces a mandatory five-year prison term up to twice the prison term authorized above.

(Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 333.7410, .7410a, .7413 (2019).)

Talk to an Attorney

Convictions for controlled substance crimes incur heavy fines and long periods of incarceration. A criminal defense lawyer can review the facts of your case, explain your options, and advise you of the possible consequences.

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