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Maryland Drug Laws

According to a 2016 report, heroin overdoses in Maryland have more than tripled since 2010, and the problem will continue to rise with the recent repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders, some argue. Whatever your stance on Maryland drug laws, it is clear that illegal substance abuse, particularly opioids, is a cause for concern both here and across the U.S. In fact, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll in 2016 showed that nearly three in 10 Marylanders have a close friend or family member who was or is addicted to opioids.

The state of Maryland has numerous drug possession laws in place outlawing possession of all illegal substances, from cocaine to methamphetamine and more. Penalties range from a simple misdemeanor to a more serious felony charge, with consequences either way. The most important factors in any penalty you face depend on both the type of drug you are alleged to possess and the total amount in your possession. However, keep in mind that in 2016, the state went through what some call “the largest, most comprehensive criminal-justice reform in Maryland in a generation,” and as such, penalties for certain drug crimes no longer carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Maryland Drug Laws Overview

The charges and penalties under Maryland’s drug laws are detailed below in the following chart. Remember, if you or someone you love is battling a substance abuse problem, seek help immediately. Keep in mind, there are different penalties for drug trafficking, manufacturing, and cultivation.


Penalties by Drug Type and Amount

Possession of all Controlled Substances (not marijuana) such as heroin,cocaine, methamphetamines: Misdemeanor with maximum penalty of up to four 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

Marijuana: Less than 10 g, civil offense, maximum fine $100, &10g - less than 50 lbs, misdemeanor, up to one year jail, fine up to $1,000, over 50 lbs, felony, up to five years prison, fine up to $100,000, third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program in some situations

Associated Crimes

Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Md. Ann. Code § 5-619

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Maryland Codes and Supreme Court Decisions

Additional Resources

If you have additional questions about the drug laws in Maryland, click on the following links below to learn more:

Get Professional Legal Help to Better Understand Maryland Drug Laws

With the state of drug laws in flux, it's important to understand any drug charges and penalties against you before either entering into a plea deal or pleading guilty. One of the best ways to protect your rights is to contact an experienced drug crime lawyer in Maryland who will have extensive knowledge of the state's drug laws.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex drug crimes usually require a lawyer
  • Experienced drug crime lawyers can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties
  • Drug crime laws involve many specifics that can quickly change a case

Get tailored legal advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many Maryland attorneys offer free consultations for Drug Crime.


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