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Maryland Drug Distribution Laws

Below is a brief outline of the drug laws in Maryland regarding the distribution, sale, and importation of drugs (particularly in large amounts). This overview is not a substitute for advice from a Maryland drug lawyer. For your convenience, we also provide further pages with information on:

Distribution, Possession with Intent to Distribute Controlled Substance

It is illegal for a person, other than an authorized dispenser (i.e., pharmacy), to (1) distribute or sell a controlled substance, or (2) possess a controlled substance in a sufficient quantity to reasonably indicate an intent to distribute the substance. Section 5-602. It is also illegal for a person to manufacture a controlled substance, or manufacture, distribute, or possess devices that are adapted to produce a controlled substance under circumstances that reasonably indicate an intent to sell, produce, or distribute a controlled substance. Section 5-603.

Penalties for Schedule I or Schedule II Substances

If an individual violates either of the preceding sections (distribution/possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing with intent to distribute) with a Schedule I or Schedule II narcotic, then that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000Section 5-608(a).

If an individual violates such sections a second time involving Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-608(b)(1).

If an individual violates these sections a third time involving one or more Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence and fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-608(c)(1).

If an individual violates these sections a fourth time involving Schedule I or Schedule II narcotics, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of a mandatory minimum 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-608(d)(1).

In all of these cases, the penalty is the same if the individual is convicted of conspiring to commit these offenses. Section 5-608.

Selected Schedule I and II Hallucinogenic Substances Section 5-609

If an individual violates these sections (distribution/possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing with intent to distribute) involving PCP (phencyclidine), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), or MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)– that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000. Section 5-609(a).

If an individual commits a second offense under these sections involving a Schedule I or II narcotic (including PCP, LSD, or MDMA) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-609(b).

If an individual commits a third offense under these sections involving a Schedule I or II narcotic (including PCP, LSD, or MDMA) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-609(c).

If an individual commits a fourth offense under these sections involving a Schedule I or II narcotic (including PCP, LSD, or MDMA) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-609(d).

These penalties also apply to individuals who are convicted of conspiring to commit these felonies. Section 5-609.

Controlled Substances Not Including Schedule I or II Drugs

If an individual violates these sections with a controlled substance other than a Schedule I or Schedule II drug (distribution/possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing with intent to distribute) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000Section 5-607(a).

If an individual commits a second offense (not including Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances) then that individual is guilty of a felony punishable by two to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000, with a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence. Section 5-607(b)(1).

Volume Dealers Section 5-612

A person is subject to enhanced penalties if that person satisfies the requirement for being considered a “volume dealer.” The requirement, under Section 5-612(a), for being a volume dealer is manufacturing, distributing, selling, or possessing the following:

  • Marijuana: 50 pounds or more
  • Cocaine: 448 grams or more
  • Mixture containing a detectable amount of cocaine: 448 grams or more
  • Cocaine Base (“Crack”): 50 grams or more
  • Opium or Morphine: 28 grams or more
  • A mixture containing 28 grams or more of morphine, opium, or any derivative, salt, isomer, or salt of an isomer
  • LSD: 1,000 dosage units or more
  • Any mixture containing the equivalent of 1,000 dosage units of LSD
  • PCP in liquid form: 16 ounces or more
  • A mixture containing PCP: 448 grams or more
  • Methamphetamine: 448 grams or more
  • Any mixture containing 448 grams or more of Methamphetamine

Furthermore, when determining the amounts of controlled substances involved in different acts of manufacturing, possessing, selling, or distributing controlled substances, it is possible to aggregate the amounts of all different acts perpetrated by the same person or persons that occurred within a 90-day period. Section 5-612(b).

If an individual is guilty of being a volume dealer, then that individual faces the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Section 5-612(c). Keep in mind, this enhanced penalty is in addition to the penalty for the primary crime of manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to do so.

Drug Kingpin Section 5-613

A drug kingpin is defined in Section 5-613(a) as a supervisor, organizer, manager, or financier who acts as a coconspirator in a conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, sell, transport within, or transport into Maryland a controlled substance.

If an individual (1) who satisfies the requirements of being deemed a drug kingpin (2) manufactures, distributes, sells, transports within, or transports into Maryland controlled substances (3) in the amounts listed under the volume dealer section above, then that individual is guilty of a felony and faces the penalties of 20 to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, with a mandatory minimum 20-year prison sentence. Section 5-613(b).

Importing Controlled Substances into Maryland Section 5-614

It is illegal for an individual (1) who is not lawfully authorized to possess the substance (2) to bring the following controlled substances into the state of Maryland:

  • Marijuana: 45 kilograms or more
  • Cocaine: 28 grams or more

Any mixture containing 28 grams or more of cocaine

  • Opium/Morphine: 4 grams or more
  • LSD: 1,000 dosage units or more

Any mixture equivalent to 1,000 dosage units of LSD

  • PCP in liquid or powder form: 28 grams or more
  • Any mixture containing PCP: 112 grams or more
  • Methaqualone: 1,000 dosage units or more
  • Methamphetamine: 28 grams or more

Any mixture containing 28 grams or more of methamphetamine

  • Fentanyl or a Fentanyl Analogue: 4 grams or more

If a person violates this section, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. Section 5-614(a)(2).

It is also illegal for an individual (1) who is not lawfully authorized to possess marijuana (2) to bring in more than five kilograms but less than 45 kilograms of marijuana. Section 5-614(b)(1). If an individual commits this offense, that individual is guilty of a felony and faces penalties of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Section 5-614(b)(2).

How a Maryland Drug Distribution Lawyer Can Help

The distribution, importation, and sale of drugs are among the most heavily penalized drug offenses in Maryland. If you are charged with any of the crimes listed above, you should consult with a Maryland drug distribution lawyer to learn about your options and how a lawyer can help you build a strong defense.