Understanding drug classifications can be challenging for those living in Texas. It’s even more complicated because laws such as the Texas Compassionate Use Program allow certain medical patients to use low-THC cannabis.
The fact is, it’s possible to become ensnared in drug crimes in part due to ignorance of exactly how the law treats certain drugs. But ignorance of the law won’t stop you from receiving drug charges. It’s important to understand how the law regards certain drugs.
The scheduling system
On a federal level, drugs are classified as one of five drug scheduling levels, from I (roman numeral one) to V (roman numeral five). The scheduling tiers are based on a combination of potential for abuse, potential for dependence (addiction) and whether any accepted medical uses for the drug exists.
Schedule I drugs are drugs with no accepted medical use, high potential for abuse and high levels of dependence. Drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines and psychedelic drugs like LSD or mushrooms are Schedule I drugs.
Schedule II drugs have similarly high levels of abuse and dependence but have valid medical use. And then Schedule III through V drugs have decreasing levels of abuse and dependence while also having valid medical use.
How does scheduling impact punishment?
In general, the more controlled the substance, the greater the penalties for illegal possession. In addition, it’s worth noting that all schedule I drugs are considered illegal to possess for any reason, while you may possess Schedule II through V drugs without committing a crime.
But especially as certain Schedule II drugs like various opioids have become a larger problem in our society, drug crimes involving non-Schedule I drugs can carry serious consequences.
Understanding the scheduling classification system is an important part of staying on the right side of the law. If you’re going to possess a drug, make sure to know where it’s scheduled at both a state and federal level.