Practically anyone who comes into contact with meth faces stiff federal and state criminal penalties.

Federal Laws

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 requires behind the counter sales of cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient of meth. You can't simply take a package of these medicines off the shelf; a store employee or pharmacist must get it for you.

Also, this law restricts how much of these products you can buy in a 30-day period and requires stores to keep records of sales. Stores that don't follow these rules face fines and penalties.

Drug-Related Crimes. Meth is listed in the federal controlled substance laws. It's a schedule II drug, meaning it's considered to be a very dangerous substance. It's illegal to make, possess or sell meth. Depending on the amount of meth involved, the violator faces prison time for anywhere from five years to life, as well as thousands of dollars in fines.

Also, the government usually takes (called "forfeiture") money and property the violator obtained though the illegal drug activity.

State Laws

Just about every state's controlled substances laws specifically mention meth and call for very stiff penalties for violating them. Like the federal law, it's illegal in all states to make, sell or posses the drug.

On top of that, in states like Kentucky (PDF) and many others, it's illegal to possess a certain amount of chemicals used to make meth. Of course, the state has to prove the person had the intent to make meth, but that's usually not too difficult when the person is caught in a meth lab or has meth in his possession.

Like the federal law, many state laws allow for the forfeiture of profits from illegal drug activities. And state laws are typically just as strict, and sometimes more so, when it comes to punishing people who violate the meth laws. For instance:

Arkansas. Some of the laws in this state (begin at Ark. Code 5-64-402) include:

  • Making meth is a felony punishable by prison time from one year up to life, with fines from $1,000 to $15,000, depending on how much meth is involved
  • Possessing meth with the intent to deliver or sell it to someone else is a felony, punishable by 1 to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 to $15,000 fine, depending on how much meth is involved
  • Possessing drug paraphernalia with the purposing of using it to take meth is a felony punishable by up to six years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine

Kentucky. The drug-related laws here include:

On top of that, violators may have to pay any costs of disposing of the drug or environmental clean-up costs (PDF), such as when meth labs are involved.

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Tagged as: Criminal Law, Drug Crimes, making meth, taking meth, criminal lawyer