Here in the U.S., state laws revolving around possession of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs vary from state to state. Marijuana possession is legal in some states and not others. There are states that enforce drug laws more strongly than others while some counties within the states have reputations for enforcing the laws to the full extent.
As a whole, the United States has been battling the war on drugs for centuries. While the history of prohibition is no secret, the U.S. first put a regulation on opiate-containing substances and narcotics around 1860. As time has passed, each state has maintained its own laws regarding sentencing for addicts and alcoholics who possess illegal substances. Let’s look at some of the states and see what kinds of laws they enforce.
Marijuana, Cocaine, and Heroin Laws by State
- New York – marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In New York, marijuana is classified as a Schedule1 substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and is not generally recognized as having medical value. If found with ten pounds or more, penalties include a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 years in prison. Possession of marijuana seems so common these days, in recent news a Westchester County mom known as the “Pot Mom” pled guilty to growing at least 1,000 lbs. in 2009 in Queens, N.Y.
- New Jersey – marijuana is also considered a Schedule 1 drug in this state. If found with 50 grams or more, penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both. Also, users with possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school zone, public park, or public housing will be sentenced to 100 hours of community work. Recently, authorities in New Jersey say they seized 140 pounds of marijuana and arrested ten people during an investigation. Police report seizing four vehicles, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $500,000.
- Massachusetts – in this state, marijuana is considered a Class D substance. If a minor is found in possession, he will be assigned to four hours of classroom instruction in a drug awareness program and at least ten hours of community service. If this is not completed, the judge will impose an additional $1000.00 fine. (which may be collected from the minor’s parents)
- Connecticut – also regulated as a schedule 1 substance. One kilogram or more of marijuana caught being sold is punishable up to 20 years in prison. Sale to a minor who is at least two years younger than the violator is subject to an additional mandatory two years in prison. Recently, using a K-9 drug-sniffing officer, a Fairfield County warehouse where hundreds of pounds of pot was being funneled annually was busted.
- Arizona – This is the only state today that still charges first time marijuana possessors with a felony. Drug felonies can be punishable in Arizona with up to 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine.
- Florida – In 2009, a study on drug laws recognized Florida as the harshest for petty marijuana possessors. Less than one gram of marijuana can cost a person one year in prison. Manufacturing drugs or growing marijuana is a felony and is punished with nearly a decade in jail. A first-time offender possessing a small amount of cocaine can expect a sentence of close to five years. This law also allows for a fine of $5,000.
Within the state, Flagler County has just instated a law that nicotine is considered a banned drug at work and employees must take a drug test to show they are nicotine-free. This includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, pipes and snuff. Testing positive for these as well as harder drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, would result in termination.
- Louisiana – Louisiana punishes drug crime with full force. Here hard drugs and marijuana are harshly punished. Repeat marijuana possessors are charged with felonies and they can land in jail for up to 20 years in some cases. The state sentences up to 30 years in prison for people who possess large amounts of cocaine and heroin.
- Oklahoma – Bill 1798 was recently passed and enhances penalties for the cultivation of marijuana. People found growing marijuana will be sentenced to no less than 2 years in prison. The harsh part here is the possible maximum. Judges have the ability to sentence these offenders for life if they wish to. This is why the new bill has been nicknamed “Life for Pot” legislation.
- Texas– Small amounts of marijuana here can be sentenced to 9 months in jail and a fine of $2000. This state arrests the most people for drug crimes. These penalties apply to first-time possessors. This state sadly has no rehab system and deals with addicted individuals by throwing them into prison.
While all of our states all have their own drug laws, it is the states in the south, including Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas that have the strongest penalties of all.
Get Help at an Addiction Treatment Center in Fort Lauderdale
Hopefully with the harsh penalties that come from possessing marijuana, cocaine and heroin, users will be less apt to indulge in growing, using and selling illegal drugs and substances. If you are someone you know is in need of addiction recovery treatment, please call Cornerstone Recovery Center immediately to speak to an admissions counselor. Located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we are a drug rehab facility with an experienced medical and clinical staff. Please call 888-711-0354 or contact us online.