President Barack Obama signed into law the Federal Ban on Synthetic Marijuana in July 2012. Since then, penalties for manufacturing, selling or possessing the synthetic drug, often known by names like “Spice” and “K2”, have increased significantly. In fact, in a nationwide crackdown that ensued, many convenience store and smoke shop owners found themselves in hot water with criminal charges. When you’re in need of a drug defense attorney, Miami lawyers with a deep understanding of state and federal laws pertaining to synthetic drugs can help.
Synthetic Marijuana: Why it’s Popular and Dangerous
Synthetic marijuana first came on the scene in November 2008, according to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy. The substance is made of plant materials laced with synthetic cannabinoids. Extremely popular with teenagers and young adults, it mimics tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), offering users a way to get a “legal” high without fear of detection in drug tests.
Because synthetic marijuana is artificially engineered as opposed to naturally occurring, its effects are not uniform, which makes it extremely dangerous. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, nearly 3,000 calls to poison control centers were made in 2010, nearly 7,000 in 2011, and 639 in January 2012.
The synthetic drugs may be labeled as potpourri or plant food and contain labels indicating that they are not for human use. Even so, store owners who have these products can and have been hit with criminal drug charges.
Regardless of whether you’ve been charged with manufacturing, selling or possessing synthetic marijuana in Miami, drug defense attorneys can analyze the facts of your case and determine the best course of action to represent you.
What the Federal Ban on Synthetic Marijuana 2012 Does
The Federal Ban on Synthetic Marijuana, signed in 2012 as part of the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, means the substance is now classified as a Schedule I drug, which translates to tougher federal regulations and penalties.
Selling or possessing synthetic marijuana can land individuals in prison for upward to 20 years. That sentence can be extended to life if the individual who buys the drug dies or is seriously injured from its use.
For instance, according to a July 26, 2012 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern Florida District, among several arrests, two individuals charged with manufacturing and distributing synthetic marijuana faced possible 20-year prison sentences. Seven employees across retail shops in St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties were charged with intent to sell synthetic cannabinoids and faced between five-to- 20 years in prison each.
What’s more, penalties from the Federal Ban on Synthetic Marijuana of 2012 may be stacked on top of state penalties. If arrested on drug charges in Miami, learn more about your charges and possible penalties by contacting a drug defense attorney to review your case.
When You Need Drug Defense Attorneys
Because federal and state legislation controlling this substance is so new (before 2010, synthetic marijuana was not controlled at any level), many are unaware of how charges for this drug may differ from charges for other drugs.
The drug defense attorneys at Miami-based Falk & Ross can represent you throughout criminal proceedings. If you’re dealing with a drug charge related to the Federal Ban on Synthetic Marijuana in 2012, we know a lot is at stake. Call 877-663-5110 or 305-741-6997.