A controlled substance is defined as a drug or chemical whose manufacturing, possession or use is regulated by the federal or state government.
In the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration is the federal agency responsible for suppressing drug use deemed as illegal by the government. One way in which they do this is through the creation of laws or acts like the Controlled Substances Act.
The Controlled Substances Act was created in 1970 and enacted in 1971. The bill was signed in to law by President Nixon, a conservative President that is credited for creating the so called “War on Drugs.” The act created classifications for drugs and formed the Federal Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Controversy regarding the classifications have arisen as there are disagreements in how some substances should be classified or controlled on a federal and state level. A common substance like this is marijuana. This substance is classified as a schedule ! substance, meaning it is considered by the federal government as having the highest potential for abuse and is not safe to use under medical supervision.
Beyond the federal act there is a Texas Controlled Substances Act that also regulates certain substances like drugs and alcohol. During President Obama’s administration he passed a law that allowed for the federal act to be circumvented by state laws allowing states to legalize marijuana.
Penalties for possession of a controlled substance vary by state, but Texas has one of the strictest views on controlled substances. Laws regarding marijuana have become relatively more lax over the years with possession of marijuana under two ounces being classified as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail rather than being classified as an immediate felony.
The mismatch of federal, state and local laws regarding what is considered a controlled substance makes it hard to know what is and isn’t acceptable. Furthermore laws are changing to reflect the opinions of the public.
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