Although many people know cocaine is illegal in the United States, there may be confusion about the specific laws and penalties related to cocaine possession, distribution, and use in California.
In this article, we’ll explore whether cocaine is illegal in California and provide information on the legal and health-related implications of cocaine use. We will also discuss how much cocaine can result in felony charges in California, the impact of cocaine on the body, and strategies for treating addiction.
Why Is Cocaine Illegal In California?
Cocaine is illegal in California, as it is in all states in the United States, due to its harmful effects on individuals and society. Some of the reasons why cocaine is illegal in California include:
- Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can lead to physical and psychological dependence, making it difficult for individuals to stop using once they start.
- Cocaine use can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory issues, and neurological damage.
- Cocaine use can impair judgment, leading to risky behaviors such as driving under the influence or engaging in violent or criminal activities.
- Cocaine is often associated with organized crime, violence, and drug trafficking, which can negatively impact communities.
- The production and distribution of cocaine often involve human rights abuses and environmental degradation, such as deforestation and chemical pollution.
How Much Cocaine Is A Felony Under California Law?
Under California law, possessing any amount of cocaine is considered a felony offense. However, Proposition 47, passed in 2014, made simple possession of cocaine and other drugs for personal use a misdemeanor instead of a felony. This means that if a person is found to have small amounts of cocaine for personal use, they may be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony offense.
California Drug & Cocaine Laws
Uniform Controlled Substances Act: Cocaine, crack cocaine, coca leaves, and all other forms of cocaine are classified as Schedule II drugs.
- Possession: The possession of a controlled substance in California includes either a misdemeanor or felony charge, with a maximum penalty of up to three years in state prison for a felony charge. In most cases, a guilty plea may result in felony supervised probation and a possibility of Prop 36 sentencing.
- Sale: The sale of cocaine, crack cocaine, or “cocaine base” can carry a state prison sentence of 2 to 9 years based on where it was sold and to who it was sold.
- Trafficking: Trafficking cocaine in California, including transport and import, can result in a sentence of 3 to 5 years. In addition, trafficking from one county to a noncontiguous county can lead to a sentence of 3, 6, or 9 years.
Medical Use Of Cocaine In California
In California, the medical use of cocaine is regulated under the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (Health and Safety Code section 11000 et seq.) and specifically under the California Code of Regulations Title 16, Division 2, Article 4, Section 1715. These regulations establish requirements for distributing, storing, and using cocaine in medical settings.
- Cocaine can be used as a local anesthetic to numb the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, and mouth during medical procedures.
- In certain eye surgeries, cocaine can be used as a local anesthetic to numb the eye.
- Cocaine is a potent vasoconstrictor, which means it can narrow blood vessels. This property makes it useful in some medical procedures that require reducing bleeding, such as in certain types of nasal surgery.
How Cocaine Impacts The Body
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that can have various physical and mental effects on the body. Here are some of the impacts of cocaine on the body, broken down into physical and mental effects:
- Constricted blood vessels
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Decreased appetite
- Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory failure
- Nosebleeds, runny nose, and damage to the nasal tissue
- Digestive problems and abdominal pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle twitches and tremors
- Euphoria and heightened alertness
- Increased energy and confidence
- Increased talkativeness and sociability
- Anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks
- Agitation, irritability, and aggression
- Impaired judgment and decision-making
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Addiction and withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and insomnia.
How To Treat A Cocaine Addiction
- Detox: This is the first step in treating cocaine addiction, where the individual is medically supervised while the drug is removed from the body.
- Inpatient treatment: This type of treatment usually involves living in a treatment facility for 30-90 days. It provides intensive therapy and support to help individuals overcome their addictions.
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment involves attending therapy sessions and receiving support while continuing to live at home.
- Sober living homes: These are residential facilities that provide a drug-free living environment for individuals once they leave a structured treatment program.
Contact Riviera Recovery
If you, a family member, or a friend is trying to overcome an addiction to cocaine and needs help, contact Riviera Recovery. We can help you find the right addiction treatment program through one of our clinical partnerships. Once you’ve gone through a program and need help transitioning into daily life again, our sober living homes can provide you with the skills and environment you need to recover.