Most state drug laws are still based on the federal scheduling of drugs, with marijuana being an exception. Other drugs are still prosecuted using the same scheduling of drugs, some dating back 40 years from the Act’s inception. According to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, a schedule I drug is considered the most dangerous. According to the federal government, they have no medical benefits and come with a high potential for abuse. A schedule II drug is considered less dangerous, comes with some limited medical benefits, and a high risk of abuse. A schedule III drug is considered even less dangerous, comes with medical benefits, and less potential for abuse.
- Schedule I: Heroin, marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.
- Schedule II: Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, Dilaudid, OxyContin, and Adderall/ Ritalin
- Schedule III: Codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
According to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, schedule IV and V drugs, including Xanax, Darvocet, Valium, Ambien, and other drugs with low amounts of codeine are considered some of the least dangerous drugs. They have consistently been used for medical purposes and come with the lowest potential for abuse.
Drug Possession and New Jersey laws
As stated earlier, drug penalties in New Jersey and many other states correlate to their scheduling according to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, with the exception of marijuana. A simple marijuana possession charge of under 50 grams is a disorderly person offense. A person charged with a disorderly person offense faces fines and possible jail time up to 6 months. With the help of an effective attorney, most first-offense marijuana cases can be pled down to probation and the chance for expungement. In cases related to more serious drugs, like heroin and cocaine, courts are more aggressive. Simple possession of most schedule I and II drugs, except marijuana, will be considered a felony; a “third-degree crime” in NJ. Indictable crimes come with severe fines and varying amounts of jail time. Depending on the amount of drugs you are caught with, you could face a second-degree crime with even harsher consequences. In most cases, with a clean record, a skilled attorney will have the ability to lessen the impact of the charges. Most charges depend on the amount of drugs, the location of the arrest, and whether the charges should constitute “sales”. If you are arrested with a controlled substance, contact our office to discuss your case.