Drug Possession Charges By State 2020

Regardless of the type of drug that a person possesses, it is illegal to distribute and use any dangerous drug in the United States. Not only will they cause physical harm to the body over time, but they will also affect a person’s mental state as they continue to use the drug. The rules and penalties surrounding drug possession differ among each state. Although most drugs are deemed illegal throughout the country, many states base the punishment of drug possession by the amount and type of drug that a person is carrying. To understand this topic a bit further, here are the laws surrounding drug possession charges.

Types of Drugs

Although each state has its stance on what to charge people for drug possession, all of them are in agreeance that specific drugs will always be illegal. These drugs are known to cause significant harm to a person taking them, which is why anyone caught with the substance will be charged accordingly. Some of the illegal drugs that guarantee drug possession charges include:

  • Opium
  • Ecstasy
  • Cocaine
  • Heroine

There are other legal drugs, however, that people can use and abuse that can be prescribed to them. These drugs include:

  • Xanax
  • Codeine
  • Ketamine
  • Vicodin

Schedules

In order to stop drug abuse in the country, schedules have been implemented to help classify which drugs are harmless and which are dangerous. State leaders also follow these schedules to determine how to charge people for possession of certain drugs. The schedule goes like this:

  • Schedule I: Includes drugs that are not used for medical reasons but can be abused.
  • Schedule II: Includes drugs that people can abuse and become addicted to but can also be used for medical reasons.
  • Schedule III: Includes drugs that have a low chance of people abusing and becoming addicted to them, but also helps with medical issues.
  • Schedule IV: Includes prescription drugs that can barely be abused but can become addicting if people overuse them.
  • Schedule V: Includes medications that have a low chance of being abused.

Three Strike Laws

Another way that states try to cut down on drug possession is to implement a three-strike rule for its residents. These three strike laws indicate that once a person commits the same crime three times, then they will serve a stricter punishment. Currently, 24 states have specific three-strike laws in their areas. Some of those states include:

  • Missouri
  • Connecticut
  • Mississippi
  • Texas
  • Arizona

Some states differ in the type of punishments to give someone who has broken the three strikes law for drug possession. In some states, a person may have to serve a minimum sentence for possessing an illegal drug. Other areas, though, may require that someone serve life for the possession.

Charges

As mentioned before, each state differs in what it would charge people based on the amount of drugs they possess. They may vary in the specific amounts, especially when it comes to marijuana, but they generally have the same charges for the possession amounts. For instance, some states may impose a more uncomplicated charge, like a misdemeanor, for a small amount of marijuana. However, they may impose a harsher charge, like a felony, if someone possesses unprescribed opiates or cocaine. To understand each state’s stance on drug possession charges fully, check out this list.

Drug Possession Charges By State 2020

Source:
State 2020 Pop.
Alabama4,908,620
Alaska734,002
Arizona7,378,490
Arkansas3,039,000
California39,937,500
Colorado5,845,530
Connecticut3,563,080
Delaware982,895
District of Columbia720,687
Florida21,993,000
Georgia10,736,100
Hawaii1,412,690
Idaho1,826,160
Illinois12,659,700
Indiana6,745,350
Iowa3,179,850
Kansas2,910,360
Kentucky4,499,690
Louisiana4,645,180
Maine1,345,790
Maryland6,083,120
Massachusetts6,976,600
Michigan10,045,000
Minnesota5,700,670
Mississippi2,989,260
Missouri6,169,270
Montana1,086,760
Nebraska1,952,570
Nevada3,139,660
New Hampshire1,371,250
New Jersey8,936,570
New Mexico2,096,640
New York19,440,500
North Carolina10,611,900
North Dakota761,723
Ohio11,747,700
Oklahoma3,954,820
Oregon4,301,090
Pennsylvania12,820,900
Rhode Island1,056,160
South Carolina5,210,100
South Dakota903,027
Tennessee6,897,580
Texas29,472,300
Utah3,282,120
Vermont628,061
Virginia8,626,210
Washington7,797,100
West Virginia1,778,070
Wisconsin5,851,750
Wyoming567,025