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Criminal Defense Blog


Drug schedules and the Controlled Substances Act

Illinois residents who face charges related to Schedule 1 drugs may be facing more serious penalties than people whose charges involve drugs that belong to other schedules. Prior to the creation of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, there were more than 200 separate drug laws. The CSA made it easier for states to create their own statutes since they could cite schedules instead of having to list drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for adding or removing drugs from the schedules or moving a drug from one schedule to another.

Drugs in Schedule 1 are considered to be the most dangerous and have no medical use. Marijuana is included as a Schedule 1 drug despite the fact that it has been studied for its medical properties. Other drugs included in Schedule 1 are heroin and LSD. Morphine and cocaine are both Schedule 2 drugs while Vicodin is a Schedule 3 drug. Xanax, Ambien and Valium are all Schedule 4, and cough suppressants are Schedule 5.

State legislatures can pass laws that are stricter than federal drug laws, but they are not permitted to pass more lenient or conflicting laws. Manufacturers, distributors, importers and exporters of drugs are required to keep strict records in case of a DEA investigation.

Even relatively minor drug charges can have a serious effect on a person’s life. Because drug charges can affect access to financial aid for higher education and some career paths, a person who is facing a drug charge might want to talk to an attorney about the best approach. The person might have the opportunity to plead guilty to lesser charges. The attorney may also look into whether the search that led to the seizure of the drugs was made without probable cause.

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