All 50 of the United States of America have drug laws on the books that supplement the regulations at the federal level. However, standards are changing, and states are no longer uniform in their existing drug laws. Some U.S. states have laws that include penalties that are far harsher than others; some states punish drug possession, the manufacturing of drugs as well as distribution with a penalty of serious prison time.
But which states have the toughest drug laws, and what exactly are those laws? The following states are currently well-known for their harsh drug laws and stiff penalties:
Louisiana Drug Laws
In Louisiana, both marijuana and hard drugs are punished quite mercilessly. Repeat offenders of marijuana possession will be charged with felonies, which can land them in jail for 20 years in some instances. Louisiana district attorneys won’t hesitate to apply this law liberally, very often seeking the maximum sentence.
Louisiana also hands out severe sentences for cocaine and heroin possession; a 30-year prison sentence for those possessing cocaine or heroin is possible, even if they had no intention of distributing the drugs.
Oklahoma Drug Laws
While Oklahoma is known as the Sooner state, for those who are caught with drugs, the reception won’t be so friendly. There are very harsh drug laws in Oklahoma, even just for marijuana possession. When Bill 1798 was passed, it enhanced existing penalties for the growth and cultivation of marijuana. Under this law, those found guilty of growing pot plants on their property can be sent to prison for two years or more.
Another defining feature of this harsh law is its possible maximum penalty. Judges can send offenders to prison for life if found in violation of this law. Because of this, many drug policy groups have dubbed Oklahoma’s Bill 1798 the “Life for Pot” legislation.
Florida Drug Laws
Known as the Sunshine state, Florida was recognized in a 2009 study for its stringent drug laws and penalties. Florida punishes even small-time, petty marijuana possessors quite harshly. Marijuana possession of under 20 grams can lead to an entire year in prison. Growing or manufacturing marijuana or other types of drugs is considered a felony punishable by up to 10 years of prison time.
Florida enacts a sliding scale system which has little sympathy for users of hard drugs; a first-time offender who is convicted with possession of just a small quantity of cocaine can receive a sentence of up to five years in prison. There is also a fine of $5,000, and courts won’t hesitate to assess this steep financial penalty.
Texas Drug Laws
Head south on Interstate 45, and you’ll eventually find yourself in Texas, a state known for its southern values and wide open plains. This state also has some tough drug laws on the books regarding marijuana; even those who just have possession of the drug can face harsh penalties. If someone is caught even with a tiny amount of the drug, that individual can be sentenced to nine months in jail and assessed a fine of $2,000.
Texas is not shy about using this law to its fullest, either; it is known as the state that makes the most arrests of persons for crimes related to drugs. The stiffest penalties apply even to first-time offenders and drug possessors.