Involvement with illicit drugs can yield charges for drug possession or distribution. The charges often depend on the classification of the drugs involved. Both the federal government and states categorize controlled substances based on their potential for abuse.
Minnesota divides controlled substances into five "schedules". The designation of the drug is important because it affects the drug charges and penalties that you can face. Typically, the more dangerous (higher risk for abuse or addiction), the greater the charges and the higher the penalties.
Types of Controlled Substance Crimes in Minnesota
There are five degrees of crimes in Minnesota that combine various restrictions on the possession, sales, and manufacturing of drugs. The least serious of these offenses is in the fifth degree. Possession of more than 42.5 grams of marijuna is an example. Although Minnesota hasn't legalized marijuana, it has decriminalized possession to some extent; possession of 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor.
The most severe offense is in the first degree. Violations include manufacturing any amount of methamphetamine and selling meth totaling 17 grams or more, among others.
An Overview of Minnesota Controlled Substance Laws
Understanding statutes is often challenging due to the complexity and the length of the text. It helps to unpack the statutes with an easy-to-understand reference. Read the chart below for a simple overview of Minnesota's controlled substance laws.
- Section 152.025 (fifth degree controlled substance crime)
- Section 152.024 (fourth degree controlled substance crime)
- Section 152-023 (third degree controlled substance crime)
- Section 152-022 (second degree controlled substance crime)
- Section 152-021 (first degree controlled substance crime)
Fifth Degree; Fourth Degree; Third Degree
Fifth degree crime: Punishable by imprisonment up to 5 years; fines up to $10,000.
- Possession: Any amount of Schedule I, II, III, or IV (except 42.5 grams or less marijuana).
- Sales: Any amount of Schedule IV, or marijuana except for minimal amounts for no remuneration.
Fourth degree crime: Punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years; fines up to $100,000.
- Possession: Any amount of Schedule I, II, or III substances (not marijuana) with intent to sell; or 10 doses hallucinogen.
- Sales: Sale of Schedule I, II, III substances (except marijuana); or sales (including marijuana) in a school zone, a park zone, a public housing zone, or a drug treatment facility; or sale of Schedule IV or V substances to a person under the age of 18; or a conspiracy to sell.
Third degree: Punishable by imprisonment up to 20 years; fines up to $250,000.
- Possession: 10 or more grams any narcotic other than heroin; 3 or more grams of heroin; 10 or more kilos marijuana; 5 or more doses of a Schedule I or II narcotic in school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility.
- Sales: Any amount of narcotics; 5 or more kilos marijuana; any Schedule I or II substance or marijuana to person under 18, any amount of heroin or cocaine.
Second degree: Punishable by imprisonment up to 25 years; fines up to $500,000.
- Possession: 25 or more kilos marijuana; 100 or more plants; 25 or more grams cocaine, methamphetamine; or 50 grams of narcotics.
- Sales: 10 or more kilos marijuana; 10 or more grams narcotic drugs other than heroin; 3 or more grams of heroin; sale of a schedule I or II narcotic to a person under 18; or sale in a school zone, park zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility.
First degree: Punishable by imprisonment of up to 30 years; fines up to $1,000,000.
- Possession: 50 kilos or more of marijuana, 500 or more marijuana plants; 50 grams or more of cocaine, methamphetamine; 25 grams or more of heroin.
- Sales: 25 kilos or more marijuana; 17 grams or more of cocaine, methamphetamine; 10 or more grams of heroin.
Aggravated controlled substance in the first degree:
- The individual or an accomplice possesses a firearm on their person or within immediate reach or brandishes, displays, threatens with or otherwise uses a firearm; or
- The offense involves 2 aggravating factors.
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.
Minnesota Controlled Substances Laws: Related Resources
Discuss Controlled Substance Charges with a Minnesota Attorney
Minnesota's controlled substance laws are complex. If you're facing charges, you should discuss your case with a drug crime attorney who can evaluate the strength of the case against you and viable options, specific to your case.