Drug Crimes

Overview and Classification

In Mississippi sentencing ranges for drug charges are based on both the amount and type of the drug.


  • Marijuana has its own subsection of the Mississippi Controlled Substances statute that sets out its limits and punishments
    • Marijuana has been decriminalized up to a certain weight in Mississippi. If you are charged with simple possession of under 30 grams of Marijuana, there is no potential jail time in the statute. However, if you possess over 30 grams the penalties can range from 3 to 30 years, and enhancements can cause the penalties to increase even beyond that.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

  • The most common synthetic cannabinoid is Spice.
  • Simple possession of a less than 10 grams of a Synthetic Cannabinoid is a misdemeanor that does not carry jail.

Schedule I

  • Are drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
  • Examples: Heroin, LSD, MDMA, Ecstasy, and Peyote.

Schedule II

  • Are drugs that have some currently accepted medicinal application but are considered dangerous due to their  high potential for abuse, often leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.
  • Examples: (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin.
  • Schedule I and Schedule II drugs are punished in the same manner.

Schedule III

  • Drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.
  • Examples: ketamine, anabolic steroids, Tylenol with codeine.

Schedule IV

  • Schedule IV drugs are those with a low potential for abuse, low risk of dependence and have many medical uses.
  • Examples: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Ambien, Tramadol

Schedule V

  • Schedule V drugs are those with the lowest potential for abuse among the other Scheduled categories. These drugs contain small or limited amounts of certain narcotics.
  • Examples: cough medicine with small amounts codeine, Lyrica, Lomotil, and Robitussin AC.

Punished Based on Weight or Dosage Unit

  • In Mississippi the punishments depend on both the type of substance and the amount of that substance. Amounts are determined by either direct measurement of the weight of the substance or the number of Dosage Units found.
  • A Dosage unit is defined as a tablet or capsule, or in the case of a liquid solution, one (1) milliliter. In the case of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) the term, “dosage unit” means a stamp, square, dot, microdot, tablet or capsule of a controlled substance.
  • For any controlled substance that does not fall within the definition of the term “dosage unit,” the penalties shall be based upon the weight of the controlled substance.
  • The weight set forth refers to the entire weight of any mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of the controlled substance.
  • If a mixture or substance contains more than one (1) controlled substance, the weight of the mixture or substance is assigned to the controlled substance that results in the greater punishment.

Transfers and Possession With Intent to Transfer

  • It is illegal in Mississippi to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute, dispense or possess with intent to sell, barter, transfer, manufacture, distribute or dispense, a controlled substance or a counterfeit substance, or to create a counterfeit substance.
  • These cases are more serious than Simple Possession cases as they carry more severe punishments and jail time.
  • Further if you violate this section within a certain distance to a school or church, or by selling to someone who is under 21 years old, you could face twice the normal penalty.

Simple Possession

  • Simple Possession applies where someone is in possession of an illegal substance and there is no evidence of any intent to sell or distribute that substance.
  • Mississippi penalizes the possession of certain controlled substances unless they were obtained pursuant to a valid prescription.


  • Trafficking is the most serious drug offense under Mississippi law. Trafficking caries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, and you are not eligible for parole. Trafficking can carry up to 40 years but can be even more serious if one of the enhancements applies.


In MS a drug charge may be enhanced for a variety of reasons. This typically causes the potential punishment to be doubled.

  • Distributions to Person under 21 (41-29-145)
    • Violations of subsection (a) and (b) of 41-29-139, aka the sale or transfer of a controlled substance to someone who is under 21 years of age can result in twice the maximum term of imprisonment and fine to be doubled.
  • School/church enhancement (41-29-142)
    • If you sell or attempt to sell or distribute controlled substances within 1500 feet of a school or other similarly listed building or within 1000 feet of a church you could be subject to punishment twice that previously provided.
  • Firearm (41-29-152)
    • Provides that if you are in possession of a firearm at the time of any offense violating the controlled substance act or at the time of your arrest, you can be subject to twice the prison sentence and fine.
    • A firearm is defined as any weapon, including a starter gun which will or is designed to or may be readily made available to compel a projectile by action of an explosive.
  • Subsequent offenses (41-29-147)
    • This enhancement doubles the potential prison time and fine amount for anyone who has previously been convicted for a violation of the controlled substances laws in this state or similar laws throughout the United States.
    • This is why it is important to consult with a lawyer even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor possession charge. That charge may be used to enhance any future penalties if you are found guilty of it.

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