Illicit Drug Policies: Selected Laws from the 50 States



Illicit Drug Policies: Selected Laws from the 50 States (2000) outlines selected statutory provisions addressing four major issues: (1) controlled substances scheduling, (2) penalties for sale or possession of selected substances, (3) penalties for sale or possession of crack cocaine, and (4) medical marijuana provisions. All chart book data reflect laws in effect as of January 1, 2000. The chart book data are available in the following separate data files:

  • Controlled Substances Scheduling (2000 Scheduling Data.xls – 24.9 KB; Codebook (PDF) – 125 KB) – Shows into which categories federal and state governments have placed each substance of interest according to guidelines based on potential for abuse, likelihood for dependence, and the drug’s currently accepted medical use, if any. The particular substances of interest are Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Rohypnol, GHB, Ecstasy (MDMA), and Ketamine. Generally, schedules are in decreasing order dependent upon danger or abuse, with Schedule I substances having the highest potential for abuse and Schedule V (or lower schedule) substances typically reflecting substances that have a very low potential for abuse.
  • Penalties for Sale or Possession of Selected Substances (2000 Chartbook Penalty Data.xls – 149 KB; Codebook (PDF) – 124 KB) – Presents information on sale and possession penalties associated with initial violations. Data presented for first offense violations involving Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Ecstasy. Includes: (a) applicable quantity triggers (up to the first three) differentiating among penalties, (b) maximum and minimum fines applied to each quantity, (c) maximum and minimum imprisonment applied to each quantity. Notations are made indicating whether or not there is an increased penalty for subsequent violations.
  • Separate Penalties for Selling or Possessing Crack Cocaine – (2000 Chartbook Sep Penalty Crack Data.xls – 21.5 KB; Codebook (PDF) – Codebook (PDF) – 123 KB)) A dichotomous indicator as to whether the state imposes different penalties for the sale and/or possession of crack cocaine (as compared to cocaine powder).
  • Medical Marijuana (2000 Chartbook Medical Marijuana Data.xls – 18.5 KB; Codebook (PDF) – 124 KB) – Indicates whether the state has provisions recognizing the use or prescription of marijuana for medicinal use. Medical marijuana provisions captured are those that:
    • enable establishment of Therapeutic Research Programs (TRP) to study the medicinal value of marijuana for specific categories of patients and/or diseases (participating patients and physicians are protected from state and federal prosecution)
    • reclassify marijuana to a lower schedule in recognition of the medicinal value of its use outside of a TRP
    • enable physicians to prescribe marijuana for medical use or discuss with patients the medicinal value of marijuana outside of a TRP
    • provide a medical necessity defense to patients and/or their caregivers for using and/or possessing marijuana for medicinal purposes.