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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. As Attorney Eric T. Kirk will tell you.

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

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. Although not legal in Maryland, arguably, the decriminalization of marijuana has changed the applicability of this proviso with respect to less than 10 grams of  marijuana only.  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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