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Matthew A. Radefeld and Daniel A. Juengel

The classifications of drug crimes in Missouri

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2022 | Drug Crimes |

In the state of Missouri, drug crimes are taken very seriously. Unlawful possession of any of Missouri’s designated controlled substances could very easily end up in felony charges and possible jail time. 

It is vital for any Missouri resident to fully understand the different designations of controlled substances in the state and how they correlate with the severity of charges and sentencing. 

Five schedules of controlled substances

Missouri classifies controlled substances into five categories called “schedules.” They rank in severity, starting with schedule I, which carries the heaviest penalties, down to schedule V. These classifications help determine penalties like fines and jail time. 

If you are caught in possession of a listed controlled substance, you could be charged with a felony. Some exceptions exist but are rare, like if you have a legally obtained prescription. 

Schedule I:

Missouri designates schedule I substances as having “high potential for abuse” and no accepted medical use in the United States. Schedule I substances include heroin, LSD, and MDMA. 

Schedules II and III:

These levels share many traits. Both include drugs that have some medical uses, but they are heavily regulated. Schedule II includes drugs like cocaine, methamphetamines, and potentially addictive painkillers like codeine, OxyContin, and Vicodin. Schedule III includes weight loss drugs, SSRIs for conditions like depression, and anabolic steroids. 

Schedules IV and V:

In these last two classes, you’ll find more common prescription drugs like cough suppressants, sleeping pills, or anxiety medications like Xanax.  

What constitutes a drug crime?

Possession of a controlled substance means that you are knowingly and unlawfully in possession of the drugs listed in any of the schedule classes. For first-time offenders, this is treated as a class D felony, which comes with a maximum jail sentence of seven years. 

Delivery of a controlled substance is when you knowingly distribute (or attempt to distribute) a controlled substance or obtain a large amount with intent to distribute. For first-time offenders, this is treated as a class C felony, which is regularly given a minimum of three years and a maximum of ten years jail time. This charge is upgraded to a class B felony when selling to minors. Class B felonies carry a minimum of five years and a maximum of 15 years of jail time. 

What are the penalties regarding marijuana?

While technically listed as a schedule I controlled substance, marijuana has its own set of regulations in Missouri. Often, marijuana-related offenses will result in a misdemeanor. Possession of marijuana will not be considered a potential felony unless the amount totals above 35 grams. In this case, it reaches the threshold to be considered a class C felony.