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What does the scheduling system mean for drug crimes?

What does the scheduling system mean for drug crimes?

In our last post, the topic of discussion was drug charges and the many different types of crimes that the police and prosecution use to charge someone with a criminal offense. Continuing that discussion, today we’re going to talk about the scheduling system, a classification system for drugs that determines how severe the punishment is for an offender and also limits the ability for the substance to be researched for medical purposes.

The scheduling system breaks down into five classes, or schedules. Schedule 1 is the most severe class, including drugs such as heroin, LSD and marijuana. From there, the schedule descend in order of their ability to be abused by people and the overall danger they pose to people. Schedule 2 includes cocaine and meth; Schedule 3 includes things such as codeine and anabolic steroids; Schedule 4 includes certain prescription drugs, such as Xanax; and Schedule 5 includes certain over-the-counter drugs such as Robitussin.

The higher up the drug is on the scheduling system, the more severe the penalties are likely to be for the accused if they are found guilty.

Hearing this, you may be asking yourself “why is marijuana considered one of the most dangerous drugs?” This is a good question, and while there was a campaign to change its schedule earlier this year, it ultimately failed.

Changing a drug’s scheduling status is notoriously difficult, and the marijuana campaign from earlier this year proved it. Hopefully someday soon we will reach a societal understanding that the rules from the “War of Drugs” era have only led to more people and prison without actually stopping the drug trade in any meaningful way.

Source: Vox, “The federal drug scheduling system, explained,” German Lopez, Aug. 11, 2016

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