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Your Guide to Georgia’s Schedules of Controlled Substances

Your complete guide, “Georgia’s Schedules of Controlled Substances,” offers valuable information. For more resources and support, contact The Waltman Firm.

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Understanding the Drug Schedules in Georgia

Georgia’s Controlled Substances Act regulates drug crimes, including drug use, manufacturing, and distribution. It defines controlled substances by categorizing them into five different schedules according to the level of danger they pose and how addictive they are. Schedule I is the most severe classification, while Schedule V is the least serious category of controlled substances.

This drug schedule is essential because the criminal penalties for drug-associated crimes typically depend on the type of drug involved, among other things. For instance, a person charged with manufacturing Schedule II drugs would face stiffer penalties than someone charged with manufacturing Schedule IV drugs.

The public can also identify which drugs should be avoided and which have limited medical uses and can be obtained with a prescription or a license. Drug possession charges are based on the schedule of drugs you are found in possession of, so that schedule determines your punishment on conviction.

Factors that Determine Georgia Drug Schedule Classification

In classifying drugs, the Act considers three main factors. They include the following:

  • The potential for abuse of the substance
  • Whether it has any accepted medical use in the United States
  • Whether the drug can be used safely under medical supervision and its effects on the body


Schedule 1 Controlled Substance

 Drugs and other substances in this category have a high potential for abuse. They also have no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States.

Lastly, there is a lack of accepted safety for using the drug or substance under medical supervision. Popular drugs in this category include mushrooms (Psilocybin), ecstasy (MDMA), heroin, and LSD.

Schedule 2 Controlled Substance

Schedule 2 substances have a high potential for abuse. However, they have a currently accepted medical use for treatment in the US. These uses could have severe restrictions but still exist.

Also, Schedule II drugs or substances are such that abuse of them may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Common examples include cocaine (as well as crack cocaine), opium, methamphetamine, morphine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.


Schedule 3 Controlled Substance

The drugs or other substances in this group have a potential for abuse that is less than those in Schedules I and II. They also have a currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States, and when abused, they may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.

Some popular examples are central nervous system depressants and stimulants, barbiturates, specific substances containing narcotics, and anabolic steroids.


Schedule 4 Controlled Substance

Schedule IV substances have a low potential for abuse relative to Schedule III drugs or substances. They also have an accepted medical use for treatment in the US, and abusing them could lead to limited physical or psychological dependence relative to Schedule III drugs and substances.

Schedule IV drugs include, but are not limited to, diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), Xanax, and Tramadol.


Schedule 5 Controlled Substance

Lastly, drugs and other substances in this category have a low potential for abuse compared to Schedule IV drugs or other substances. They also have a currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States.

When abused, they could lead to psychological or physical dependence relative to the drugs or other substances in Schedule IV. Drugs included are typically mixtures containing limited amounts of substances from the other schedules.

Note: Some schedules contain prescription drugs. You cannot face drug charges for possession of legally prescribed drugs. Also, the full list of substances on these schedules is included from OCGA § 16-13-25 to § 16-13-29.

Classification of Marijuana

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug federally. However, in Georgia, it is classified as a separate substance that is not under any schedule. Nevertheless, the Georgia Code criminalizes the manufacture, distribution, delivery, purchase, sale, administering, dispensing, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

This is contained in OCGA § 16-13-30(j)(1). Furthermore, marijuana is included in the definition of “controlled substances” as stated in O.C.G.A § 16-13-1(a)(1).


What Are Georgia’s Drug Penalties

 Georgia drug penalties are stiff generally, regardless of the specific offense committed. However, manufacturing, selling, and distributing often carry higher penalties, especially when they involve Schedule I or Schedule II drugs. These crimes are felonies punishable by up to 30 years in prison on an initial conviction and 40 years on a second or subsequent conviction.

In addition to this long jail time usually imposed on drug convicts, there may also be fines to pay. These fines are typically in the tens of thousands and are set at the judge’s discretion with a maximum limit determined by law. Also, drug convictions could come with mandatory attendance of a Georgia drug court program.

These programs are typically designed for addicts or people charged with possession. Although the programs are designed to help, they may feel like punishment since the convict has to pay for them, and attendance is usually compulsory. You may face this penalty if you are charged with a controlled substance-related DUI.

There is also the possibility of losing your property, driver’s license, and child custody if you are convicted of a drug charge, especially when it involves more addictive and dangerous drugs. Lastly, drug-related convictions go on your criminal record and could devastate your life even after serving time.

How a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

When you are facing many years in prison for drug charges, your attorney’s skill is critical. An experienced Georgia drug charge defense attorney from The Waltman Firm may be your best bet to avoid harsh criminal penalties.

At the Waltman Firm, our knowledge spans drug-related laws, from Georgia drug trafficking laws to drug possession laws. We use this knowledge and firsthand experience of criminal prosecution in Georgia to create a solid defense for our client. The sooner you reach out, the faster we can build a solid case for you after carefully reviewing the case facts.

Our devoted and detail-oriented lawyers look for the salient facts that can make or break your case and use it to your advantage. We have worked with thousands of satisfied clients and have a successful track record. Contact The Waltman Firm if you are looking for a top-notch defense lawyer that is aggressive, sound, and wants an optimal outcome for you.