How Serious are "Manufacturing Drugs" Charges?

September 21, 2011

We’re often asked how serious it is if someone gets charged with manufacturing narcotics in California?

The simple answer is that it is one of the most serious drug offenses. Health & Safety Code 11379.6 HS - the California law against manufacturing illegal narcotics - carries a prison sentence of up to five years. By comparison, selling or transporting drugs only carries up to five years. And merely possessing a controlled substance for personal use only carries up to 3 years.

Moreover, unlike simple possession, a person convicted of manufacturing under Health & Safety Code 11379.6 does not qualify for drug diversion programs such as Proposition 36 or deferred entry of judgment.

It’s not hard to understand why the law clamps down so harshly on manufacturers. The California legislature sees them as perhaps the most major player in the illegal drug trade. And unlike simple users who are merely feeding an addiction and often perceived as victims themselves, “cookers” and “processors” are viewed as profiteers who feed on the nation’s drug problem.

One other factor adds fuel to the fervor against illegal drug manufacturing. Only one of the major street drugs is predominately made and processed domestically: methamphetamine. And “meth” is widely regarded as perhaps the most virulent of the illegal street drugs.