21 U.S.C. § 844

Current through P.L. 118-66 (published on www.congress.gov on 07/02/2024)
Section 844 - Penalties for simple possession
(a) Unlawful acts; penalties

It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this subchapter or subchapter II. It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess any list I chemical obtained pursuant to or under authority of a registration issued to that person under section 823 of this title or section 958 of this title if that registration has been revoked or suspended, if that registration has expired, or if the registrant has ceased to do business in the manner contemplated by his registration. It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally purchase at retail during a 30 day period more than 9 grams of ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base in a scheduled listed chemical product, except that, of such 9 grams, not more than 7.5 grams may be imported by means of shipping through any private or commercial carrier or the Postal Service. Any person who violates this subsection may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 1 year, and shall be fined a minimum of $1,000, or both, except that if he commits such offense after a prior conviction under this subchapter or subchapter II, or a prior conviction for any drug, narcotic, or chemical offense chargeable under the law of any State, has become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 15 days but not more than 2 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $2,500, except, further, that if he commits such offense after two or more prior convictions under this subchapter or subchapter II, or two or more prior convictions for any drug, narcotic, or chemical offense chargeable under the law of any State, or a combination of two or more such offenses have become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment for not less than 90 days but not more than 3 years, and shall be fined a minimum of $5,000. Notwithstanding any penalty provided in this subsection, any person convicted under this subsection for the possession of flunitrazepam shall be imprisoned for not more than 3 years, shall be fined as otherwise provided in this section, or both. The imposition or execution of a minimum sentence required to be imposed under this subsection shall not be suspended or deferred. Further, upon conviction, a person who violates this subsection shall be fined the reasonable costs of the investigation and prosecution of the offense, including the costs of prosecution of an offense as defined in sections 1918 and 1920 of title 28, except that this sentence shall not apply and a fine under this section need not be imposed if the court determines under the provision of title 18 that the defendant lacks the ability to pay.

(b) Repealed. Pub. L. 98-473, title II, §219(a), Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2027
(c) "Drug, narcotic, or chemical offense" defined

As used in this section, the term "drug, narcotic, or chemical offense" means any offense which proscribes the possession, distribution, manufacture, cultivation, sale, transfer, or the attempt or conspiracy to possess, distribute, manufacture, cultivate, sell or transfer any substance the possession of which is prohibited under this subchapter.

21 U.S.C. § 844

Pub. L. 91-513, title II, §404, Oct. 27, 1970, 84 Stat. 1264; Pub. L. 98-473, title II, §219, Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 2027; Pub. L. 99-570, title I, §1052, Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207-8; Pub. L. 100-690, title VI, §§6371, 6480, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4370, 4382; Pub. L. 101-647, title XII, §1201, title XIX, §1907, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4829, 4854; Pub. L. 104-237, title II, §201(a), Oct. 3, 1996, 110 Stat. 3101; Pub. L. 104-305, §2(c), Oct. 13, 1996, 110 Stat. 3808; Pub. L. 109-177, title VII, §711(e)(1), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 262; Pub. L. 111-220, §3, Aug. 3, 2010, 124 Stat. 2372.

EDITORIAL NOTES

AMENDMENTS2010-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111-220 struck out "Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a person convicted under this subsection for the possession of a mixture or substance which contains cocaine base shall be imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, and fined a minimum of $1,000, if the conviction is a first conviction under this subsection and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 5 grams, if the conviction is after a prior conviction for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection becomes final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 3 grams, or if the conviction is after 2 or more prior convictions for the possession of such a mixture or substance under this subsection become final and the amount of the mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram." after "$5,000."2006-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109-177 inserted after second sentence "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally purchase at retail during a 30 day period more than 9 grams of ephedrine base, pseudoephedrine base, or phenylpropanolamine base in a scheduled listed chemical product, except that, of such 9 grams, not more than 7.5 grams may be imported by means of shipping through any private or commercial carrier or the Postal Service." 1996-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104-305 inserted "Notwithstanding any penalty provided in this subsection, any person convicted under this subsection for the possession of flunitrazepam shall be imprisoned for not more than 3 years, shall be fined as otherwise provided in this section, or both." after "mixture or substance exceeds 1 gram." Pub. L. 104-237, §201(a)(1), inserted after first sentence "It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess any list I chemical obtained pursuant to or under authority of a registration issued to that person under section 823 of this title or section 958 of this title if that registration has been revoked or suspended, if that registration has expired, or if the registrant has ceased to do business in the manner contemplated by his registration." and substituted "drug, narcotic, or chemical" for "drug or narcotic" in two places.Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104-237, §201(a)(2), substituted "drug, narcotic, or chemical" for "drug or narcotic".1990-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101-647, §1907, inserted subsec. (a) designation. Pub. L. 101-647, §1201, substituted "shall be imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, and fined a minimum of $1,000" for "shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years, or both".1988-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 100-690, §6480(1)(A)-(C), struck out "but not more than $5,000" after "$1,000", "but not more than $10,000" after "$2,500", and "but not more than $25,000" after "$5,000" in second sentence. Pub. L. 100-690, §6371, inserted provisions relating to increased penalties in cases of certain serious crack possession offenses, making offenders subject to fines under title 18 or imprisonment to terms not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years, or both.1986-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99-570 amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) read as follows: "It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless such substance was obtained directly, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order, from a practitioner, while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this subchapter or subchapter II of this chapter. Any person who violates this subsection shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both, except that if he commits such offense after a prior conviction or convictions under this subsection have become final, he shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than 2 years, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both."Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 99-570 in amending subsec. (b) generally, substituted "Upon the discharge of such person and dismissal of the proceedings" for "Upon the dismissal of such person and discharge of the proceedings" in par. (2).Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 99-570 in amending section generally, added subsec. (c).1984- Pub. L. 98-473 struck out subsec. (a) designation and struck out subsec. (b) which related to probation before judgment and expunging of records for first offense.

STATUTORY NOTES AND RELATED SUBSIDIARIES

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 2006 AMENDMENT Pub. L. 109-177, title VII, §711(e)(2), Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 262, provided that: "The amendment made by paragraph (1) [amending this section] applies on and after the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act [Mar. 9, 2006]."

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1984 AMENDMENT Amendment by Pub. L. 98-473 effective Nov. 1, 1987, and applicable only to offenses committed after the taking effect of such amendment, see section 235(a)(1) of Pub. L. 98-473 set out as an Effective Date note under section 3551 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

EFFECTIVE DATESection effective on first day of seventh calendar month that begins after Oct. 26, 1970, see section 704 of Pub. L. 91-513 set out as a note under section 801 of this title.

EXECUTIVE DOCUMENTS

PROC. NO. 10467. GRANTING PARDON FOR THE OFFENSE OF SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANAProc. No. 10467, Oct. 6, 2022, 87 F.R. 61441, provided:Acting pursuant to the grant of authority in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do hereby grant a full, complete, and unconditional pardon to (1) all current United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who committed the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, as currently codified at 21 U.S.C. 844 and as previously codified elsewhere in the United States Code, or in violation of D.C. Code 48-904.01(d)(1), on or before the date of this proclamation [Oct. 6, 2022], regardless of whether they have been charged with or prosecuted for this offense on or before the date of this proclamation; and (2) all current United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been convicted of the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, as currently codified at 21 U.S.C. 844 and as previously codified elsewhere in the United States Code, or in violation of D.C. Code 48-904.01(d)(1); which pardon shall restore to them full political, civil, and other rights.My intent by this proclamation is to pardon only the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of Federal law or in violation of D.C. Code 48-904.01(d)(1), and not any other offenses related to marijuana or other controlled substances. No language herein shall be construed to pardon any person for any other offense, including possession of other controlled substances, whether committed prior, subsequent, or contemporaneous to the pardoned offense of simple possession of marijuana. This pardon does not apply to individuals who were non-citizens not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense. Pursuant to this proclamation, the Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, shall administer and effectuate the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible applicants who have been charged or convicted for the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, as currently codified at 21 U.S.C. 844 and as previously codified elsewhere in the United States Code, or in violation of D.C. Code 48-904.01(d)(1). The Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, is directed to develop and announce application procedures for certificates of pardon and to begin accepting applications in accordance with such procedures as soon as reasonably practicable. The Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, shall review all properly submitted applications and shall issue certificates of pardon to eligible applicants in due course.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.J.R. Biden, Jr.

PROC. NO. 10688. GRANTING PARDON FOR THE OFFENSE OF SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, ATTEMPTED SIMPLE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, OR USE OF MARIJUANAProc. No. 10688, Dec. 22, 2023, 88 F.R. 90083, provided:In Proclamation 10467 of October 6, 2022 (Granting Pardon for the Offense of Simple Possession of Marijuana) [set out above], I exercised my authority under the Constitution to pardon individuals who committed or were convicted of the offense of simple possession of marijuana in violation of the Controlled Substances Act [ 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.] and section 48-904.01(d)(1) of the Code of the District of Columbia (D.C. Code). As I have said before, convictions for simple possession of marijuana have imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Through this proclamation, consistent with the grant of Proclamation 10467, I am pardoning additional individuals who may continue to experience the unnecessary collateral consequences of a conviction for simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana. Therefore, acting pursuant to the grant of authority in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., do hereby grant a full, complete, and unconditional pardon to all current United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who, on or before the date of this proclamation [Dec. 22, 2023], committed or were convicted of the offense of simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana, regardless of whether they have been charged with or prosecuted for these offenses on or before the date of this proclamation, in violation of:(1) section 844 of title 21, United States Code, section 846 of title 21, United States Code, and previous provisions in the United States Code that prohibited simple possession of marijuana or attempted simple possession of marijuana;(2) section 48-904.01(d)(1) of the D.C. Code and previous provisions in the D.C. Code that prohibited simple possession of marijuana;(3) section 48-904.09 of the D.C. Code and previous provisions in the D.C. Code that prohibited attempted simple possession of marijuana; and(4) provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations, including as enforced under the United States Code, that prohibit only the simple possession or use of marijuana on Federal properties or installations, or in other locales, as currently or previously codified, including but not limited to 25 C.F.R. 11.452(a); 32 C.F.R. 1903.12(b)(2); 36 C.F.R. 2.35(b)(2); 36 C.F.R. 1002.35(b)(2); 36 C.F.R. 1280.16(a)(1); 36 C.F.R. 702.6(b); 41 C.F.R. 102-74.400(a); 43 C.F.R. 8365.1-4(b)(2); and 50 C.F.R. 27.82(b)(2). My intent by this proclamation is to pardon only the offenses of simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana in violation of the Federal and D.C. laws set forth in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this proclamation, as well as the provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations consistent with paragraph (4) of this proclamation, and not any other offenses involving other controlled substances or activity beyond simple possession of marijuana, attempted simple possession of marijuana, or use of marijuana, such as possession of marijuana with intent to distribute or driving offenses committed while under the influence of marijuana. This pardon does not apply to individuals who were non-citizens not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense. Pursuant to the procedures in Proclamation 10467, the Attorney General, acting through the Pardon Attorney, shall review all properly submitted applications for certificates of pardon and shall issue such certificates of pardon to eligible applicants in due course. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.J.R. Biden, Jr.