Southeast Missouri State University

Overview

There are many drugs that are considered illegal in the United States. They are illegal because they are dangerous to use, because the users can hurt themselves and other people when under the influence of these drugs, and because people commit other crimes, such as robbery or burglary, to obtain the money to pay for these drugs. Because certain drugs are so dangerous, each state and the federal government has its own criminal laws that make it illegal to possess, use, make or sell such drugs. These laws provide serious punishments such as prison sentences and expensivefines. The punishments are designed to prevent people from breaking the law, to punish people who do break the law and to protect people from being hurt by illegal drug use.

One of the most dangerous drugs is methamphetamine (“meth”). The United States Congress, before passing laws making meth illegal, found it to be very dangerous and harmful, highly addictive, connected to permanent brain damage, and a public health threat. Meth has been made illegal under federal law as well as in each of the six (6) Midwest HIDTA states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Kansas. The federal government and these six (6) states all consider meth to be a Schedule II drug, which is one of the most serious types of drugs that carries very serious punishments.

The various federal and state laws discussed here cover such conduct as possession, sale, and the making of meth as well as other conduct such as endangering human life when making meth and the possession and sale of certain substances used to make meth. By clicking on the appropriate area on the following map, you can learn more about the meth laws of the federal government or any of the six (6) states. NOTE: A person who wants to know the precise and current state or federal law should consult the criminal law statutes or an attorney.

Federal Law

Iowa Law

Kansas Law

Missouri Law

Nebraska Law

North Dakota Law

South Dakota Law

Federal Law

Illegal Conduct

Under federal law, it is illegal to possess, possess with the intent to sell, make, sell or attempt to make meth. It is also illegal to possess certain precursor substances with the intent to make meth or to sell those precursor substances when you believe they will be used to make meth. It is also illegal to place booby traps near where meth is being made and also against the law to make meth when it will endanger human life. Finally, under federal law, a person can have their property taken away if related to the making or selling of meth, and can also be forced to pay money to anyone hurt by meth or to pay for the cost of cleaning up a site used to make meth. Simple possession of meth cases are generally handled by state and local prosecutors. Federal prosecutions usually involve the distribution, possession with intent, manufacture, and attempt to manufacture meth. Probation is rarely an option following a sentencing hearing in these cases. Generally defendants will serve at least 85% of the court ordered sentence.

Punishments

The particular punishments in terms of prison sentences depend on the type of conduct along with the amounts of meth involved. In some cases, the conduct is so serious, there is no chance for probation or parole. In other words, if the person is found guilty, they must be sentenced to prison and must serve the entire sentence in prison.

  1. A person who is involved in making, selling or possessing with the intent to sell the following amounts of meth must be sentenced to the following minimum prison sentence. A minimum sentence means they must be sentenced to at least that much time but could be sentenced to more.
    1. 50 grams pure meth---- 10 years (no probation/parole)
    2. 5 grams pure meth---- 5 years (no probation/parole)
    3. 500 grams mixture of meth-- 10 years (no probation/parole)
    4. 50 grams mixture of meth—5 years (no probation/parole)
  2. B. A person who possesses precursor substances (substances used to make meth) with the intent to make meth can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.
  3. C. A person who sells precursor substances believing they will be used to make meth can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.
  4. D. A person who puts a booby trap near a place where meth is being made can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
  5. E. It is illegal to maintain a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using meth. Penalties include a sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, fine of $500,000, and a period of supervised release of not more than 3 years. A person who endangers human life by making meth can be sentenced up to 10 years.

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Iowa Law

Illegal Conduct

In Iowa, it is illegal to possess, make or sell meth. It is also illegal to sell meth within 1000 feet of a school, park or swimming pool. Additionally, it is against the law to make meth in the presence of a minor. It also violates the Iowa law to possessephedrine or pseudoephedrine (found in some cold tablets) with the intent to make meth or to sell or give either one to someone if you know it will be used to make meth. In 2004, Iowa passed legislation that prohibits retailers from selling and persons from buying more than two packages of pseudoephedrine in one transaction.  Also retailers are required to post notice of the law that limits the sale and purchase of the products. House File 2150 (Child Endangerment/Controlled Substances Act) passed in 2004 expands the crime of child endangerment to include situations in which a person permits the presence of a child at a location where meth or related substances are being illegally manufactured, or where the substances are possessed.

Punishments

  1. A person can be sentenced to up to one year in jail for simple possession of meth.
  2. A person who sells, makes or possesses meth with the intent to sell can be sentenced from 10-50 years in prison and up to a $1 million dollar fine depending on the amount.
  3. A person who makes meth in the presence of a minor can have 5 years added on to their sentence.
  4. A person who possesses ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with the intent to make meth can be sentenced up to 5 years plus a $7,500 fine.
  5. A person who sells or gives ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to anyone knowing it will be used to make meth can be sentenced up to 1 year in jail.

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Kansas Law

Illegal Conduct

It is against the law in Kansas to possess, sell, make or possess with the intent to sell meth. It is also illegal to sell or possess with the intent to sell meth within 1000 feet of a school. In Kansas, sentencing laws are based on a guidelines system.To that end, an individual's prior criminal history is what affects the length of his or her sentence. The severity level of the sentence (for drug laws 1-4) is the starting point.

Punishments

  1. A person who possesses meth can be sentenced from 10 - 42 months depending on the individual's prior criminal history. A first time offender would receive presumptive probation of 10-12 months. An individual who has a prior criminal history of one or more person felonies (i.e. a felony wherein a person is a victim) would receive a term of 23-42 months of presumptive imprisonment, depending on their criminal history.
  2. A person who manufactures meth can be sentenced to a term of 138-204 months of presumptive imprisonment depending on his or her criminal history.
  3. A person who sells or possesses with the intent to sell meth can be sentenced from 14-51 months depending on the individual's criminal history. A first time offender would receive presumptive probation of 14-16 months. An individual with a prior criminal history of one or more person felonies would receive a term of 32-51 months of presumptive imprisonment, depending on their criminal history. Further, an individual convicted who sells or possesses meth with the intent to sell, and who has one prior conviction for the same type of offense automatically is bumped to a severity level 2 offense and will receive a term of presumptive imprisonment of 46-83 months, depending on the individual's criminal history. A person with 2 or more prior convictions of the same type of offense is bumped to a level 1 offense and will receive a term of presumptive imprisonment of 138-204 months, depending on the individual's criminal history score.
  4. A person who sells or possesses with the intent to sell any meth within 1000 feet of a school can be sentenced from 46-83 months of presumptive imprisonment, depending on the individual's criminal history score. The suspect, however, has to be more than 18 years of age for this provision to apply.

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Missouri Law

Illegal Conduct

There are several different types of conduct regarding meth that are illegal under Missouri law. It is illegal to possess, sell, make or attempt to make meth. It is more serious to sell meth near a school or within a motel or vehicle. It is also illegal to use aminor to buy or transport meth or to sell meth to a minor. It is also against the law to sell or make meth in the presence of anyone under 17 years of age or to have a person under 17 help sell or make meth. Additionally, it is a crime to possess precursor substances with the intent to make meth. It is also illegal to steal anhydrous ammoniaor possess it in an unauthorized container.

Punishment

In Missouri, a person is punished depending on the type of conduct involving meth or the amount of meth involved. In some cases, a person can even be sentenced to life in prison.

  1. A person who possesses meth in Missouri can be sentenced from 2-7 years in prison depending on the amount.
  2. A person who sells, makes or attempts to make meth can be sentenced from 5-15 years in prison. Ten years to life without probation or parole depending on the amount.
  3. A person who brings a substance containing meth into Missouri can be sentenced from 5 years to life in prison without probation orparole depending on the amount.
  4. A person who sells, makes or attempts to make a substance containing meth can be sentenced from 10 years to life without parole depending on the amount.
  5. A person who sells, makes or attempts to make 30 grams of a substance containing meth within 2000 feet of a school or within a motel or vehicle can be sentenced from 10 years to life in prison without parole.
  6. A person who knowingly allows a minor to buy or transport meth can be sentenced from 5-15 years in prison.
  7. A person who possesses precursor substances with the intent to make meth can be sentenced fro 2-7 years.
  8. A person who sells, makes or transports meth in the presence of someone under 17 can be sentenced from 2-5 years in prison.
  9. A person who steals any substance with the intent to use it to make meth can be sentenced from 2-5 years.
  10. A person who steals any amount of anhydrous ammonia can be sentenced from 2-7 years in prison. Theft of a tank truck or trailer tank of anhydrous ammonia is punishable from 10 years to life in prison. Any person who possesses anhydrous ammonia in any unauthorized container can be sentenced from 2-5 years.

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Nebraska Law

Illegal Conduct

It is illegal in Nebraska to possess, make, sell or possess with the intent to sell meth. It is also illegal to sell meth to anyone under 18 or within 1000 feet of a school or playground. It is also against the law to hire, use or force a person under 18 to make, sell or transport meth.

Punishments

  1. A person who possesses meth can be sentenced up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  2. A person who sells, makes or possesses with the intent to sell meth can be sentenced from 1-50 years in prison depending on the amount.
  3. A person who sells meth to someone under 18 or within 1000 feet of a school or playground can be sentenced up to life in prison.
  4. A person who hires, uses or forces a person under 18 to make, sell or transport meth can be sentenced up to life in prison.

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North Dakota Law

Illegal Conduct

It is illegal in North Dakota to possess, sell, make or possess with the intent to sell meth. It is also against the law to possess meth within 1000 feet of a school. Additionally, it is illegal to hire, use, or force a person under 18 to help in making, selling or possessing with the intent to sell meth.  In 2005, North Dakota passed a bill that places restrictions on the retail sales of pseudophedrine products, including keeping written log of sales and keeping products under video surveillance.

Punishments

  1. A person who possesses meth can be sentenced up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine depending on the amount.
  2. A person who possesses meth within 1000 feet of a school can be sentenced up to 10 years plus a $10,000 fine.
  3. A person who sells, makes or possesses meth with the intent to sell can be sentenced from 1-20 years plus a $10,000 fine.
  4. A person who hires, uses or forces a person under 18 to help them sell, make or possess with the intent to sell meth can be sentenced from 4-10 years in prison plus a $10,000 fine.
  5. It is a class A-misdemeanor to snort, inhale, or otherwise consume meth. Same idea as the "DUI" law - law enforcement officers do not have to suspect actual possession of meth to arrest the suspect for being under the influence of meth.

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South Dakota Law

Illegal Conduct

It is illegal in South Dakota to possess, sell, make or possess with the intent to sell meth. It is also illegal to sell meth to a minor. In South Dakota a child is considered legally abused or neglected when a parent, guardian, or custodian knowingly exposes a child to an environment that is being used for the manufacture, use, or distribution of meth.

Punishments

  1. A person who possesses meth can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
  2. A person who sells, makes or possesses with the intent to sell meth can be sentenced from 1-10 years plus a $10,000 fine with no chance for probation.
  3. A person who sells meth to a minor can be sentenced from 5-25 years plus a $25,000 fine with no chance for probation.
  4. A person who sells, possess, or manufactures meth within 1,000 feet of a private or public school or within 500 feet of a video arcade facility, public or private youth center, or public swimming pool will incur an additional 5 year minimum to be added to the sentence of the principle felony.

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