Possession, use, or distribution of illegal drugs is prohibited by federal law. There are strict penalties for drug convictions, including mandatory prison sentences for many crimes. Many types of illegal drugs are regulated at both the federal and state levels. The crime of drug possession is often prosecuted at the state level, although medical marijuana laws have altered that landscape in some states.
Choose a state from the map or list below for state-specific drug possession laws, including detailed descriptions of specific state drug possession offenses, penalties, and more. Drug prohibition through luxury laws or religious laws is a common means of trying to prevent the recreational use of certain intoxicating substances. Drugs, in the context of prohibition, are any of a series of psychoactive substances whose use a government or religious body seeks to control. What constitutes a drug varies by century and belief system.
What is a psychoactive substance is relatively well known to modern science?. Examples include a variety of caffeine found in coffee, tea and chocolate, nicotine in tobacco products, botanical extracts, morphine and heroin, and synthetic compounds MDMA and fentanyl. Almost without exception, these substances also have a medical use, in which case they are called pharmaceutical drugs or simply pharmaceuticals. The use of medicines to save or prolong life or to alleviate suffering is not controversial in most cultures.
The prohibition applies to certain conditions of possession or use. Recreational use refers to substance use primarily because of their psychoactive effect outside of a clinical situation or physician's care. Caffeine Has Pharmaceutical Uses in the 21st Century. Caffeine is used to treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Caffeine in the form of coffee or tea is not regulated in most cultures. More than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day. Some religions, such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, prohibit coffee. They believe that consuming coffee is not healthy either physically or spiritually.
Many drugs, beyond their pharmaceutical and recreational uses, have industrial uses. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a dental anesthetic, which is also used to prepare whipped cream, fuel rocket engines, and improve the performance of racing cars. The cultivation, use and trade of psychoactive and other drugs has occurred since ancient times. At the same time, authorities have often restricted the possession and trade of drugs for a variety of political and religious reasons.
In the 20th century, the United States led a major and renewed increase in drug prohibition called the War on Drugs. Several Asian rulers had similarly enacted early bans, many of which were forcibly overturned by Western colonial powers during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1360, for example, King Ramathibodi I of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya (now Thailand) banned the consumption and trade of opium. The ban lasted almost 500 years, until 1851, when King Rama IV allowed Chinese migrants to consume opium.
The Konbaung dynasty banned all intoxicants and stimulants during the reign of King Bodawpaya (1781-181). After Burma became a British colony, opium restrictions were abolished and the colonial government established monopolies on the sale of Indian-produced opium. The first modern law in Europe to regulate medicines was the Pharmacy Act of 1868 in the United Kingdom. Previous steps had been taken to establish the medical and pharmaceutical professions as independent and self-regulatory bodies, but the General Medical Council, established in 1863, tried unsuccessfully to assert control over drug distribution.
The law establishes controls on the distribution of poisons and drugs. Poisons could only be sold if the buyer was known to the seller or to an intermediary known to both, and drugs, including opium and all opium or poppy preparations, had to be sold in containers with the seller's name and address. Despite opium's reservation to professional control, overall sales continued to some extent, and blends with less than 1 percent opium were not regulated. Despite these laws, there was an increase in opioid use at the end of the 19th century.
This was due to the prescribing and dispensing of legal opioids by doctors and pharmacists to relieve menstrual pain. An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 opioid addicts were living in the United States at the time, and most of these addicts were women. Foreign traders, including employees of Jardine Matheson and the East India Company, smuggled opium into China to balance high trade deficits. Chinese attempts to ban trade led to the First Opium War and the subsequent legalization of trade in the Nanking Treaty.
Attitudes toward the opium trade were initially ambivalent, but in 1874 the Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade was formed in England by Quakers led by Rev. By the 1890s, Protestant missionaries in China were conducting increasingly strident campaigns for its abolition. The first such society was established at the Shanghai Mission Conference of 1890, where British and American representatives, including John Glasgow Kerr, Arthur E. Moule, Arthur Gostick Shorrock and Griffith John, agreed to establish the Standing Committee for the Promotion of Antiopian Societies.
The US judicial system did not initially accept drug prohibition. Prosecutors argued that drug possession was a tax violation, since there were no legal licenses to sell drugs; therefore, a person who possesses drugs must have purchased them from an unlicensed source. After some disputes, this was accepted as federal jurisdiction under the U.S. UU.
In Sweden, a referendum in 1922 decided against an alcohol prohibition law (with 51% of the votes against and 49% in favor of prohibition), but from 1914 (nationwide from 191 to 1955), Sweden employed an alcohol rationing system with personal liquor rationing books (motbok). In 1972, the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, announced the beginning of the so-called War on Drugs. Later, President Reagan added the position of drug czar to the President's Executive Office. In 1973, New York introduced mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life in prison for possession of more than 113 grams (4 oz) of the so-called hard drug, called the Rockefeller drug laws in honor of the governor of New York and later Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
Similar laws were introduced in the United States. Very often, substances are criminalized because they are associated with what are called dangerous classes, poor people, or working people. Thus, for example, in England, in the 19th century, there was a period when gin was criminalized and whiskey was not, because gin is what the poor drink. Drug possession is the crime of having one or more illegal drugs in possession of one, whether for personal use, distribution, sale, or otherwise.
Illegal drugs fall into different categories and sentences vary based on quantity, type of drug, circumstances, and jurisdiction. In the U.S. In some states, possession of marijuana is considered a misdemeanor, and the penalty is comparable to that of a speeding violation. In some municipalities, possession of a small amount of marijuana in one's own home is not punishable at all.
However, in general, drug possession is a stoppable offense, although first-time offenders rarely serve time. Federal law makes it illegal to even possess soft drugs, such as cannabis, although some local governments have laws that contradict federal laws. The administrative bodies responsible for enforcing drug policies are the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Finance. Local authorities also shape local politics, within the national framework.
Compared to other countries, Dutch drug use falls in the European average with 6% of regular use (twenty-one percent at some point in life) and considerably lower than in Anglo-Saxon countries led by the United States, with recurrent use of 8% (thirty-four at some point in life). Because some analysts qualify drug possession as a victimless crime, since it can be committed in private, enforcement of prohibitionist laws requires law enforcement methods to inspect private property. In companies with strong property laws or individual rights, this can present a risk of conflict or rights violations. Market Disruption Depends on Eradication, Interdiction and National Law Enforcement Efforts.
Through cooperation with governments such as those in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan, the United States and other allies such as the United Kingdom eradicate coca (the plant source of cocaine) and opium poppy (the plant source of opium and heroin), so that crops cannot be converted into narcotics. Eradication can be achieved by aerial spraying or manual eradication. However, eradication is only temporary, as harvest fields can generally be replanted after a certain period of time. The severity of the penalty depends on a number of factors, such as the specific type of drug involved, the circumstances surrounding the possession, and the criminal history of the person who possesses the drugs.
The crime of possession of a controlled substance occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally has control of a drug. Many governments do not criminalize possession of a limited quantity of certain drugs for personal use, while prohibiting their sale or manufacture, or possession in large quantities. If a person is caught in possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances, they may face jail time. The police could also charge the driver with possession if passengers are found with drugs on their person, or vice versa.
In the United States, the first drug law was passed in San Francisco in 1875, which prohibited smoking opium in opium dens. To convict someone of illegal possession of a controlled substance, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly possessed the drug. In the case of psychoactive drugs, such as marijuana, there is an additional layer because, while people make the free decision to use a drug initially, a proportion of users suffer from a radically impaired ability to continue making that rational decision: they become addicted (about 9% of marijuana users develop a substance use disorder) and are at high risk of also suffering from additional mental illnesses, such as depression, triggered by drug use. To charge someone with drug possession and intent to sell, law enforcement officers will look for evidence such as large amounts of cash, scales or small plastic bags that would be used in the sale of drugs.
Drug possession charges are subject to an incredibly wide range of penalties, depending on the state in which the crime occurs or if there are federal charges involved. In these situations, it's common for police to find drugs in the car and charge the driver with possession. Controlled substances are drugs and other materials whose possession and use the federal government has decided to regulate. This legislation enacted a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for those convicted a third time of a drug trafficking offense related to a class A drug.