Throughout the years, the United States has made unrelenting efforts to outright ban addictive drugs from consumers by criminalizing their possession, manufacturing, and distribution. One of the most successful efforts was the enactment of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This federal legislation permits the government to regulate hallucinogens, narcotics, depressants, and stimulants commonly referred to as controlled substances. It does so by categorizing these illegal drugs into “schedules,” or categories that dictate a drug's potential for abuse and the degree of medical benefits, if any, that the drugs may provide.
Drug Classifications in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania classifies drugs in a fashion that resembles the CSA, and uses its classification to impose penalties upon drug offenders. A drug's classification plays a pivotal role in the severity of the potential legal ramifications an alleged perpetrator will face if convicted of a drug crime. There are five schedules that each contain drugs that, in the eyes of authorities, pose a risk to the general public. Schedule 1 controlled substances are deemed the most dangerous, while schedule 5 drugs are considered the least dangerous. The government has assessed a number of factors to determine where or whether a drug belongs on the schedule:
- The drug's potential risk to public health
- The drug's actual or relative potential for abuse
- Whether the substance is a gateway drug (leads to the use of another illegal substance)
- The longstanding effects of usage
- The scientific knowledge available for the drug etc.
Schedule 1 Drugs
Out of all of the drug schedules, authorities take schedule 1 drugs most seriously. These substances have a high potential for abuse and addiction and have no accepted medical use in the country. Overall, drugs in this schedule have been ruled unsafe in any setting or environment.
Some schedule 1 drugs include:
- MDMA-based drugs (ecstasy and molly)
- Bath salts
- Kat etc.
It's important to note that despite marijuana's legalized personal, medicinal, and recreational use in some states, it is still considered a schedule I drug to the federal government and many state classification systems.
Pennsylvania law has made it illegal for individuals to possess, distribute and manufacture controlled substances. Simple possession is a misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania, while the possession with the intent to distribute (PWID) is charged as a felony. The penalties for a conviction of this nature consist of incredibly hefty fines and prison time, even for a first offense.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
If you've been charged with a drug offense involving a controlled substance and are facing prosecution, it's important that you retain an attorney to defend you. A skilled attorney will be able to assess your case and weigh your options depending on the individualized circumstances of your case. Legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully advocated for clients who've acquired daunting drug charges, by reducing their sentence or getting their case completely dismissed. He can do the same for you. Contact him today.