Missouri prosecutes individuals who possess, distribute or intend to distribute controlled substances such as cannabis, opiates and cocaine. Depending on the type and quantity of substance, a convicted offender could face prison time and significant fines.

Read on to learn more about categorization of and penalties for drug crimes in Missouri.

Drug possession

Missouri’s possession laws distinguish between cannabis and other controlled substances. The court charges possession of any controlled substance except cannabis as a Class C felony, which carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to seven years in prison. Possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor that carries a $500 fine. However, the second marijuana-related offense results in up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,000.

Drug distribution

Possession of more than 35 grams of marijuana is a Class C felony with the same penalties as possession of other controlled substances because it constitutes intent to distribute. Growing up to 35 grams of marijuana carries a jail sentence of up to four years and up to $10,000 in fines, while more than 35 grams results in up to 10 years in prison.

Distributing other controlled substances is a Class B felony, which results in up to 15 years in jail. The court can double this sentence for distribution within 2,000 feet of a school.

Drug court program

Some Missouri offenders can enroll in the drug court program in lieu of a traditional sentence. To qualify, an individual must have an open felony drug charge and require substance abuse treatment. The program lasts up to two years and includes counseling, regular drug testing and regular court meetings with the state’s drug court commissioner.

Because Missouri drug penalties vary dramatically, you must protect your legal rights when accused of this type of crime.