Understanding Maryland drug laws

In 2016, Maryland abolished mandatory minimum prison sentence for many types of drug convictions. However, drug crimes still result in significant fines and sometimes jail time.


Read on to learn about the most common types of controlled substance convictions in Maryland and the penalties for each.


Possession of marijuana

If you are not currently enrolled in Maryland’s medical cannabis program, penalties for marijuana possession include the following:

  • Less than 10 grams: Charged as a civil offense with a ticket of up to $100
  • 10 grams to 50 pounds: Misdemeanor offense that carries up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000
  • More than 50 pounds: Felony offense that carries up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000

Offenders who are younger than 21 and/or charged with three separate marijuana offenses must undergo court-ordered drug education and substance abuse treatment where appropriate.


Possession of other controlled substances

Controlled substances other than marijuana include methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin and prescription opiates. Penalties for possession of these drugs include the following:

  • First offense of less than 28 grams: Misdemeanor that carries fines of up to $25,000 and a sentence of up to four years in prison
  • Second and subsequent offenses: Doubled penalties
  • First offense of more than 28 grams: Felony penalized with fines of up to $50,000 and up to 25 years in prison

Paraphernalia possession

Maryland law maintains a wide definition of drug paraphernalia, including anything used to make, conceal, ingest, transport or otherwise engage with a controlled substance. Possession of paraphernalia carries a fine of up to $500 for the first offense and a fine of up to $2,000 and/or two years in jail for each subsequent offense.


When you face a drug conviction in Maryland, protect your legal rights. This includes the right to receive attorney representation in court to defend yourself against the charges.



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