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Laws Applicable to Alcohol Beverages &  Controlled Substances

The following is not a comprehensive list and summarizes only a few laws that govern alcoholic beverages and controlled substances. Laws may change over time and individuals are expected to be aware of current federal, state, and local laws.

Federal Laws Governing Controlled Substances

(See United States Code 21, Sections 811, 844, 853, 881)

A. The unlawful possession, use, manufacture, sale, or distribution of alcohol or all scheduled (illicit) drugs may lead to prosecution, and depending on the nature of the offense, may be categorized as a misdemeanor or felony and may be punished by fine and/or imprisonment.

B. Examples of illicit drugs include narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, and synthetic drugs, e.g. PCP.

C. First offense penalties for the illegal possession of a controlled substance range from up to 1 year in prison and a fine of at least $1,000 but not more than $250,000, or both. Second and subsequent convictions can include increased imprisonment and fines.

D. Depending on the amount, first offense maximum penalties for trafficking marijuana range from 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 to life imprisonment and a fine of $4 million.

E. Depending on the amount, first offense maximum penalties for trafficking class I and II controlled substances (methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, cocaine base, PCP, LSD, fentanyl, etc.) range from 5 years to life imprisonment and fines from $2 to $4 million.

F. Property including vehicles, vessels, aircraft, money, securities, or other things of value which are used in, intended for use in, or traceable to transactions that involve controlled substances in violation of federal law are subject to forfeiture to the United States.

G. Persons convicted of possession or distribution of controlled substances can be barred from receiving benefits from any and all federal programs including student grants and loans, except some long term drug treatment programs.

H. The federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 701) requires that University employees directly engaged in the performance of work on a Federal contract or grant shall abide by this Policy as a condition of employment and shall notify the Principal Investigator and/or the Chair of the sponsoring department or unit within five days if they are convicted of any criminal drug statute violation occurring in the workplace or while on University business. In turn, the Principal Investigator or Chair shall notify the administrative head of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. That administrator is then obligated to notify the Federal contracting or granting agency within ten days of receiving notice of such conviction, and to take appropriate corrective action or require the employee to participate satisfactorily in an approved drug abuse assistance rehabilitation program.

California Law Governing Controlled Substances

California law regarding controlled substances is, in many respects, similar to federal law. Violations can result in imprisonment, fine, or both. 

California Law Governing Marijuana

Possession of not more than 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.00. Possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for a period no more than six months or by a fine of not more than $500.00, or by both. The cultivation, the possession for sale, or the sale of marijuana constitutes a felony. A felony conviction can involve serving time in a state prison. (California Health and Safety Code sections 11357- 11362.9)

The California Compassionate Use Act of 1996 removed state-level criminal penalties for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for personal medical purposes approved by a physician for qualified patients and/or their primary caregivers. (California Health and Safety Code section 11362.5) California’s Compassionate Use Act conflicts with federal laws governing controlled substances. The California State University, including San Bernardino, receives federal funding in the form of student financial aid and grants that would be in jeopardy if those federal laws did not take precedent in our policies. Thus, the use and possession of marijuana in any form or amount violates the CSU Student Conduct Code and the California Compassionate Use Act does not apply at the California State University San Bernardino.

California Law Governing Alcoholic Beverages

A. No person may sell, furnish, give, or cause to be sold, furnished or given away, any alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of 21, and no person under the age of 21 may purchase alcoholic beverages (California Business and Professions Code section 25658).

B. It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to possess alcoholic beverages on any street or highway or in any place open to public view (California Business and Professions Code section 25662).

C. It is a misdemeanor to sell, furnish, or give away an alcoholic beverage to any person under the age of 21 (California Business and Professions Code 25658) or to any one obviously intoxicated (California Business and Professions Code section 25602).

D. It is unlawful for any person to drink while driving, or to have an open container of an alcoholic beverage in a moving vehicle. With a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher, a driver is presumed under the influence of alcohol. Between .04% and .08% a person may be found guilty of driving under the influence (California Vehicle Code section 23152).

E. It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21, who has 0.05 percent or more by weight of alcohol in their blood, to drive a vehicle (California Vehicle Code section 23140).

Other California Laws

Every person who is found in any public place under the influence of intoxicating liquor, any drug, controlled substance or any combination of any of the above and is in such a condition that that person is unable to exercise care for their own safety or the safety of others is guilty of a misdemeanor (California Penal Code section 647(f)).