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Drug possession in Washington State

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

In a 2020 study, respondents to an interview by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that 21.4% of people over 12 had used illegal drugs in the previous year. That same survey also revealed that 37.3 million people in that age range were current users. Further, the survey concluded that 14.5% of the population of the United States in that age group have a substance use issue.

Marijuana contributed the most to the above figures. Additionally, methamphetamine use increased significantly from 2007 to 2020. Conversely, findings show that cocaine use is in decline.

Criminal drug charges

In Washington State, drug possession is usually treated as a gross misdemeanor, but there are several exceptions. Any child under 18 who possesses any controlled substance is also subject to criminal prosecution. However, if the substance possessed falls under Federal Trafficking Penalties, the punishments are more severe. The following charges can receive not less than 10 years and not more than life with fines of not more than $10 million for a first offense if a conviction is obtained:

  • Cocaine – 5 kilograms or more mixture
  • Fentanyl – -400 grams or more
  • Heroin – 1 kilogram or more mixture
  • LSD – 10 grams or more mixture
  • Methamphetamine 50 grams + (pure) or 500 grams + (mixture)

Recreational drug use in Washington does seem to be trending upward. However, it’s important to remember that there are still severe penalties for trafficking or manufacturing larger quantities of drugs.