You probably don't think about the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that much on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. But it is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the world of criminal law in the last half-century. The Controlled Substances Act combined all federal laws at the time dealing with drug crimes and unified them under a single statute.
As a result of this law, we got the "schedule" system. This is a classification that designates certain drugs as "more dangerous" or "less dangerous" as a result of their schedule, and then punishes those who run afoul of the law accordingly. The higher the schedule of the substance (Schedule 1 is the highest classification), the more legal consequences there are for perpetrators. The lower the schedule of the substance (Schedule 5 is the lowest classification), the less legal risk there is for the perpetrator.
So what does the schedule system look like?
- Schedule 5 substances are drugs like cough suppressants.
- Schedule 4 substances are more potent drugs such as Valium or Xanax.
- Schedule 3 substances are drugs like Vicodin and anabolic steroids.
- Schedule 2 substances are drugs such as cocaine and morphine.
- Schedule 1 substances are drugs like marijuana, heroin, LSD and ecstasy.
Remember that as the substance climbs closer to Schedule 1, the legal consequences for the drug crime increase. Anyone accused of drug crimes should consult with an experienced criminal attorney to ensure their case is handled properly.
Source: FindLaw, "The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): Overview," Accessed April 25, 2017