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Michigan Drug Distribution Laws

Sometimes there's a very thin line between charges of possession and possession with the intent to deliver or distribute drugs. Michigan's distribution and trafficking laws cover the crimes where a person sells, delivers, or provides controlled substances unlawfully. While a lot of distribution can refer to low-level drug deals, trafficking generally refers to distribution on a more expansive level. It's not necessary to show intent to bring trafficking charges; large quantities of drugs that are sufficient to distribute, scales, packaging materials, and other selling materials found by law enforcement officials are enough to trigger the charges.

If you're charged with trafficking, you can be prosecuted under state law, federal law, or both. Additionally, if the charges for trafficking are more severe, the matter may involve the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), depending on the scope and circumstances of the drug distribution.

Classification of Drugs in Michigan

Like many states, Michigan classifies drugs by "schedules." The schedules are significant because they affect specific charges and penalties. The schedules are determined by their level of danger and the connection between a high risk of addiction: Generally, the higher the risk for addiction, the greater the danger level, which means that the charges associated with the more dangerous drugs correlate to higher penalties.

Michigan Drug Distribution Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of laws related to Michigan's drug distribution laws, including links to important code sections.


  • Michigan Complied Laws 333.7407, 10, 10(a), (Distribution)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 333.7401 (Possession with intent to manufacture or deliver)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 333.7412,14,16, 18, 20 (Controlled substances schedules)
  • Michigan Compiled Laws 333.7413 (Penalties)


Generally, the severity of the charges depend on:

  • The type of drugs and the quantity involved
  • The location where the drugs were distributed (For example, interstate/ international distribution or distribution near schools yield more severe penalties)
  • Whether children were targeted
  • Criminal history

All distribution/trafficking charges are felonies, but the specific penalties vary; they may include the following:

  • Mandatory life sentence for repeat offenders: If you're convicted for a second or subsequent offense of distributing a Schedule I or II drug where the amount is greater than 50 grams, you will be sentenced to life in prison.
  • Mandatory prison terms or jail time
  • Fines, up to $1,000,000
  • Probation
  • Forfeiture of property

Possible Defenses

  • Possession for personal use
  • Entrapment
  • Fourth Amendment violations

Related Offense

  • Money laundering: Michigan Compiled Laws 750.4110

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.

Michigan Drug Distribution Laws: Related Resources

Contact a Michigan Attorney about Your Drug Case

If you're under investigation for violating Michigan's drug distribution laws, then you're dealing with some of the strictest laws in the country. It's important to talk to a skilled lawyer who can evaluate your case and provide options. Don't delay in contacting a local criminal defense attorney.

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