Drug laws can be tricky - trying to balance keeping our communities safe while recognizing how addiction can come into play is a difficult task. Cocaine, in both powdered form and as crack, is a serious drug threat today and one of the state's most heavily trafficked illegal drugs.
The HBO series The Wire placed the Baltimore drug trade on the national stage. Beyond television depictions, though, Maryland has battled cocaine trafficking on its streets for years. Primarily due to the increased violence surrounding cocaine distribution and use, Maryland authorities crack down heavily on both sale and possession of cocaine. Here is a brief summary of cocaine laws in the state.
State Cocaine Laws
Cocaine possession, sale, and trafficking are felonies in nearly every state. Possession of a small amount of the drug can lead to serious penalties in Maryland. Like cocaine laws in other states, Maryland’s statutes increase in severity and punishment with multiple offenses.
Cocaine Statutes in Maryland
The charges and penalties under Maryland's cocaine laws are listed below.
|Code Section||Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 5-601, et seq.|
|Possession||Misdemeanor with penalty of up to 4 yrs. and/or $25,000; Bringing 28 g. into state: felony with penalty of up to $50,000 and/or 25 yrs.; Subsequent offense: double penalties|
|Sale||Felony with penalty of 20 yrs. and/or $25,000; Sale of more than 448 g. or 50 g. of crack: not less than 40 yrs.; Subsequent offense: double penalties; 2 yrs. mandatory, not less than 10 yr. sentence; Third offense: not less than 40 yrs. Sale to minors or near school property: stricter penalties|
|Trafficking||If "drug kingpin" 20-40 yrs. and/or $1,000,000 fine|
There are Maryland state statutes as well as federal laws on the books. Federal drug laws prohibit simple cocaine possession along with manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution. As seen above, penalties for cocaine possession or sale can be severe and generally vary depending on whether you have prior drug convictions and the quantity of drugs involved.
In some cases, prosecutors can offer a plea bargain to a lower-level offender in exchange for helping to build a case against higher-level producers and dealers. In addition, some jurisdictions have recently created specialized “drug courts” that allow first or second-time drug crime defendants to spend time in treatment in lieu of a jail sentence.
Maryland Cocaine Laws: Related Resources
Our societal norms regarding drugs and the state laws that reflect them are changing every day. For additional resources and introductory information on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's Drug Charges section. You can also contact a Maryland drug crime attorney if you would like legal help regarding a drug case or in understanding local drug laws. If you or someone you know has been struggling with drug addiction or a substance abuse problem, the first step is to reach out for help.
Facing Cocaine Charges? Don't Take Chances: Call an Attorney
If you have been charged with a cocaine-related drug offense, you may be facing several years in prison, not to mention the lifelong repercussions of a felony conviction. Make sure your best interests are protected by working with a skilled Maryland defense attorney experienced in controlled substances cases.
Contact a qualified attorney.