Drugs are classified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration into 5 different classes called “Schedules”. The classes are supposedly based on the accepted medical use and each drug’s potential for abuse and dependency. However, “Schedule I” contains both heroin and marijuana. I am not a scientist or a medical doctor, so I cannot tell you if there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana or not. I know there is a lot written on the topic; and states are starting to pass laws recognizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In my entire life, I have never heard of anyone overdosing on marijuana; but it seems like not a single day goes by that we here in northern Kentucky don’t lose someone to heroin overdose. Heroin and marijuana should not be classified in the same schedule.
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are:
cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin
Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are:
Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are:
Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, Ambien
Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are:
cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin
Even in Kentucky, marijuana is treated differently under some of the most used criminal statutes. In Kentucky’s DUI statute, a person can be prosecuted for DUI if:
“While the presence of a controlled substance listed in subsection (12) of this section is detected in the blood, as measured by a scientifically reliable test, or tests, taken within two (2) hours of cessation of operation or physical control of a motor vehicle;”
But Kentucky exempts Marijuana from being classified as a “Schedule I” controlled substance for this particular section of the statute.
(12) The substances applicable to a prosecution under subsection (1)(d) of this
(a) Any Schedule I controlled substance except marijuana;
(o) Propoxyphene; and
This does not mean that you can smoke marijuana and still legally drive a vehicle. Section (1)(c) clearly covers all the bases by prohibiting driving under the influence of “any other substance or combination of substances which impairs one’s driving ability.”
I hope you found the above information helpful. Remember, never make statements to the police without your lawyer present.