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Drug/CDS Possession Charge? What If I Had A Prescription?

It is illegal in Maryland to possess a controlled substance  “unless obtained directly or by prescription or order from an authorized provider acting in the course of professional practice” Md. CRIMINAL LAW, Code Ann. § 5-101. The drug laws define a narcotic, generally as an opiate, or a derivative of the coca leaf. It’s not a defense to a drug/CDS possession charge if the substance forming the charge is a schedule I narcotic, because there are no legal uses for a schedule I narcotic. When it comes to other controlled, scheduled substances though,  Maryland courts have ruled that “[v]alid prescriptions provide the basis of a statutory defense to the charges for possession of and possession of with intent.” State v. Young, 234 Md.App 720.

The drug law delineates those entitles considered authorized providers:

  • “a person licensed, registered, or otherwise allowed to administer, distribute, dispense, or conduct research on a controlled dangerous substance” including
  • a pharmacy
  • laboratory
  • hospital,
  • medical doctors
  • dentists
  • veterinarians

Source: Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 5-101

It is a separate crime to have, make or use a counterfeit or altered prescription for a controlled substance with the purpose to distribute the substance once obtained. Upon conviction, a defendant faces 5 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of 2 years for a subsequent offense.

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