Amphetamines: Legal consequences

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 5:08 am

 Legal consequences of Amphetamines

Individuals who buy, sell, or transport illegal amphetamines, or those who buy, sell, or otherwise traffic in the equipment to manufacture illegal amphetamines risk hefty fines and imprisonment. In the United States, the consequences of illegal possession, sale, or even freely sharing amphetamines without a medical doctor’s prescription can be severe under terms of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) of 1970.

A first offense of simple possession of amphetamine without a doctor’s prescription can result in imprisonment for not more than one year and a fine of $1,000 or both. A second offense can result in imprisonment for up to two years and a fine of $2,500. A third illegal possession offense can result in up to three years of prison time and a fine of $5,000.

Distribution, which includes selling or giving away more than 100 grams of amphetamine is illegal under CSA section 841. It is an offense punishable by prison terms of a minimum of five years and up to 40 years with fines of up to $2 million. If death or injury results from illegal distribution, the penalties become imprisonment for a minimum of 20 years to more than life and a fine of $2 million. A person convicted of selling amphetamines to someone under 21 years of age is subject to twice the maximum punishment.

Legal history

Before 1970, amphetamines were subject to numerous and sometimes confusing laws regulating their manufacture and distribution. In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which has been the legal foundation of the U.S. government’s fight against the abuse of amphetamines and other drugs since its passage. The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is title II of that legislation. The CSA placed all drug substances that had been regulated under existing federal laws into one of five schedules based on the substance’s medicinal value, harmfulness, and potential for abuse and addiction. Schedule I is reserved for the most dangerous drugs that have no recognized medical use. Amphetamines fall under Schedule II, dangerous drugs with useful and legitimate medical uses that also have a high potential for abuse and addiction.


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