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Visitors to Michigan State may not know our drug laws

Michigan State University is the site of many athletic contests and other events throughout the year, and thousands of visitors come to campus from outside the state.

Drug problems exist at MSU as they do at many colleges, and Michigan has some of the toughest drug laws in the country. Out-of-state visitors should be aware of the penalties for the possession of controlled substances.

Intentional possession

According to the Michigan Public Health Code, anyone who “knowingly or intentionally” possesses either a prescription form or analogue form of a controlled substance that was not obtained through a valid prescription or professional medical practitioner violates the law.

Going by the schedule

Like many other states, Michigan groups controlled substances into schedules, which simplifies prosecution and sentencing. For example, among the Schedule I substances are heroin, LSD and ecstasy. The substances listed in Schedule II are considered to be extremely addictive but, unlike those in Schedule I, they are also used for medical purposes, although tightly regulated. These include morphine, opium and cocaine. Anyone found guilty of possessing a Schedule I or II substance might receive a misdemeanor conviction, which includes a fine of not more than $2,000, or a felony for possessing from 25 to 1,000 grams, which could bring a fine of up to $1 million.

Facing penalties

In terms of jail time, the penalty for a misdemeanor is usually a year or less, whereas a felony conviction could result in several years to life. The circumstances surrounding an arrest for possession of a controlled substance will be under consideration, along with any criminal history a person might have, when a court case gets underway. Those who are from out-of-state, perhaps spending some time on the MSU campus, want to enjoy their visit. However, if authorities charge them with possession of a controlled substance, a local attorney who has experience with Michigan laws can best serve their interests.

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