Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance in Maryland, which means lawmakers believe the drug is highly addictive but has some medical uses. Possessing, distributing or trafficking Schedule II controlled substances is punished harshly in the Old Line State, and even offenders who have not been in trouble with the law before can spend years behind bars for possessing small quantities of these drugs.
Cocaine possession penalties in Maryland
Possessing up to 28 grams of a Schedule II controlled substance like cocaine is a misdemeanor offense in Maryland that is punishable by a sentence of up to four years and a fine of up to $25,000. Individuals who are arrested for bringing 28 grams or more of cocaine into Maryland face felony charges that carry a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and a maximum fine of $50,000. Subsequent cocaine offenses are punished even more harshly.
Cocaine distribution penalties in Maryland
Distributing cocaine is always charged as a felony in Maryland, and the penalties for this drug charge are enhanced when offenders sell powder or crack cocaine to minors or near a school. Being convicted of distributing less than 448 grams of powder cocaine or 50 grams of crack cocaine in Maryland will lead to a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000. The maximum custodial sentence for offenders who distribute larger quantities of powder or crack cocaine is 40 years. Subsequent offenses will lead to harsher penalties and mandatory minimum sentences.
Possessing, distributing and trafficking cocaine are serious offenses in Maryland. However, not all offenders are treated harshly. People who cooperate with police or prosecutors are often offered more lenient sentences, and many jurisdictions in Maryland now have drug courts that favor treatment over punishment for offenders with substance abuse problems.