What is a Drug Schedule?
Despite California's move towards marijuana legalization and reform, drug related crimes in the state still carry severe legal penalties. However, not every drug is treated equally under the law. Criminal drug offenses in California are categorized into different categories known as a “drug schedule.”
Each substance belongs to a specific category of the drug schedule, which then carries a penalty range. From the alleged highest potential of abuse to the lowest, the schedules are: Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, Schedule V. California's schedule also conforms to the Federal drug schedule.
Because they are considered to be the most dangerous or addictive drugs, offenses involving schedule I drugs carry the most serious consequences. The justification given is often that these substances are most likely to lead to abuse and codependency, and most lack a proper medical use. For our purposes today we will not address the political considerations involved as well.
Drugs in this schedule are mostly opioids, hallucinogens, and depressants, some of which include:
- Cocaine base
- Cannabis (Legal in California under certain circumstances)
These drugs are considered to have few, if any, medical uses and carry a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs consist of stimulants, depressants, and some opioids, which may include:
Substances in Schedule III may have some addictive qualities and often have little medical use. From steroids to stimulants, these include a wide range of substances, including:
- Lysergic acid
While Schedule IV substances have a low-abuse potential and substantial medical value, they can be harmful in large amounts and lead to a drug charge. Some examples include:
Schedule V drug charges carry the lowest penalties compared to other schedules. Many substances in this category are used in cough medications and other prescription drugs. generally, these substances are considered legal and carry a lower risk of addiction. Most penalties for use of these narcotics stem from either their use in the manufacture of synthetic drugs or in conduct done while under the influence of them (such as operating a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane. Some examples include:
If you have been arrested or charged with a drug crime, or have any legal concerns related to scheduled drugs, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney in your area at 909.283.5494