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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Life Arrow to Legal Advisor Home Legal Guide Arrow to Drug Possession Drug Possession

It's estimated that $20 billion is spent annually by the federal government in the United States with additional billions allocated each year by state governments in the War on Drugs.

On the federal level, serious offenses carry mandatory prison terms and forfeiture of property for possession or distribution of illegal drugs defined under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which regulates five classes of drugs — depressants, narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids.

also see
in the Law blog:

Time to Legalize

Commonly these include any substance likely to lead to drug addiction such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, PCP, methamphetamines (meth) or any unauthorized prescription medications. In addition, it is illegal to hold in possession anything deemed to be drug paraphernalia or equipment used to manufacture illegal drugs.

Although sentences are less severe for "casual" drug possession, penalties can become much harsher depending on an individual's prior drug arrests, or the amount of illegal substances found (typically "drug possession with intent to distribute"), especially if a suspect is caught near a school campus, housing project or day care center.

Anyone who uses illegal drugs, even "recreational" drugs in small amounts, faces the risk of legal action. The easiest way to avoid this is staying away from drugs and others who use them. One problem is that it isn't always possible to identify someone who is using recreational drugs.

Riding in a car or spending a night at a friend's house may put you at risk even if you didn't know there were any drugs around. Getting good legal advice should be a first step if you are accused of any drug related crime. The ramifications of one conviction on drug charges can effect the rest of your life.

also see in Legal -> DUI / DWI Laws | Juvenile Justice & Criminal Law

More about drugs and the law around the Web:

Elsewhere on the Web, find out more about federal & state drug possession laws and penalties, what to do if you're arrested overseas, plus related news & headlines including the current controversy surrounding the medical & therapeutic uses of marijuana .... - Drug Crimes - Facts & legal tips on what to do in the event of a drug bust, information on the criminal process in all 50 states, pros & cons of public defenders, searchable database of drug crime lawyers, related message board.

Drug Enforcement Administration - U.S. Federal agency offering information on marijuana laws, online educational brochure covering the Controlled Substances Act, what constitutes an illegal substance, overview of drug classifications, plus the latest news on high profile drug cases & arrests, free biweekly newsletter.

National Workrights Institute - Drug Testing in the Workplace - Discussions on the topic including current legislation, privacy rights, public employee legal guide.

Marijuana Law Reform - NORML - Organization promoting law reforms for personal and medicinal marijuana use featuring news & opinion, a guide to U.S. Federal& state marijuana laws, an archive of related court cases & decisions, membership & contact details.

American Civil Liberties Union - Criminal Law Reform - One-stop browsing for news & information on current drug laws, controversies over racial targeting, medical use of marijuana issues, plus related fact sheets, legislative documents and summaries of Supreme Court cases.

The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.


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