California Cocaine Laws

california cocaine laws

Cocaine (also known as coke or snow) belongs to a group of addictive stimulants made from the leaves of the coca plant. Primarily, it is used to:

  • set a good mood
  • get positive emotions
  • produce euphoria.

There are two forms of cocaine: powdered and crystallized. The first type can be either inhaled or absorbed through nose or injected into blood while it is dissolved. The crystallized cocaine can be smoked in a form of crack which is a form of cocaine in a rock crystal. The methods of cocaine use influence on the pleasurable effects of the controlled substance. Commonly, cocaine is used to fight the fatigue and get the state of euphoria. Coke long-term users risk to harm the brain, lungs, heart, blood vessels. Moreover, cocaine may provoke even sudden death.

Cocaine is required to undergo a long processing in order to be prepared, and it is considered to be a “hard drug” under the United States “Controlled Substances Act”. The law sets forth severe penalties for illegal possession, trafficking or sale of cocaine. This document distinguishes “cocaine” drug which is classified in Schedule II and “cocaine base” drugs, Schedule I.

“Simple” cocaine means cocaine hydrochloride which is mixed with sulfuric acid and a solvent. If the drug is previewed in Schedule II it means:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Cocaine base consists of cocaine that reacts with acid to form a salt, such as powder cocaine, cocaine freebase and crack cocaine. Being classified in the Schedule I of the United States “Controlled Substances Act” means:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

The main difference between drugs classified in Schedule I and Schedule II, beside harmful effect, is the severity of penalties stated for the violations of their cultivating, possession or sale. For example, “simple” possession of cocaine is punishable up to four years in state prison; meanwhile the same offense involving a cocaine base drug can be punished up to five years in state prison.

In the below table you can find the list of the most common California cocaine base crimes as well as punishments for them:

Crime Penalty
  • Simple possession of a cocaine base substance for personal use
  • Cocaine base possession or purchase of cocaine base for sale
  • Selling, distributing, importing or simply transporting cocaine base
  • up to three (3) years in state prison
  • up to five (5) years in state prison
  • up to three (3) years of incarceration in state prison

In addition, there are different drug diversion programs in California. They give an opportunity to nonviolent offenders to face treatment and education programs instead of jail time and a criminal record. If you are California cocaine law offender, you can benefit from the following programs depending on the particularities of your case:

The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We will help you to understand the various aspects of your case. We are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning drug charges in California for free. We will do our best to reduce or dismiss all your charges. Do not hesitate to contact us!

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

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