Missouri laws are harsh when it comes to drug charges. All but the most minor marijuana possession charges are felonies. State law divides illegal drugs by type on a schedule, ranked from I to V. Schedule I drugs are considered the most dangerous with no safe medical use. They include drugs like heroin and other opiates. They go down to Schedule V drugs, which have a low potential for abuse and are considered less dangerous.
Felony drug charges are then ranked by class, with Class A felonies having the harshest penalties, all the way down to Class E, with the lowest penalties. Penalties also increase for repeat offenses. Sentencing guidelines for felonies include the following:
- Class A felonies – a sentence of 10 to 30 years
- Class B felonies – a sentence of five to 15 years
- Class C felonies – a sentence of three to 10 years
- Class D felonies – a sentence of up to seven years
- Class E felonies – a sentence of up to four years
You might expect that offenses involving Schedule I drugs are likely to be in a higher class than those in a lower Schedule, but some of the penalties treat all drugs the same. For example, delivering any drug other than a small amount of marijuana is a Class C felony. Drug trafficking laws do differentiate between drugs, but only to clarify the weight at issue for each drug. All first-degree trafficking charges have both a Class A and Class B felony penalty.
Although medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, you must have a medical card. Otherwise, possession of marijuana is the only misdemeanor drug possession charge, and only if the amount is 35 grams or less. Misdemeanor penalties typically involve less than one year in jail but could include fines. Possession of fewer than 10 grams will only result in a fine. Distribution or manufacturing of marijuana is a felony offense. The penalties range from up to four years for the lowest offense, to 30 years at the high end, depending on the amount in question.
If you are facing drug charges in Missouri, make sure you understand exactly what the charges are and what penalties you face.