Synthetic drug possession and use is a growing phenomenon in Florida. These are drugs that are designed to mimic the effects of amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and other illegal drugs. The drugs are primarily sold in retail stores or online and are marketed under names such as “incense,” “potpourri,” “K2,” “spice,” and “bath salts.”
The state of Florida has responded to this phenomenon by passing laws that make it illegal to possess, sell or make synthetic drugs that are similar to the chemical nature of illegal drugs.
Recently two Florida women were charged in federal court with conspiracy to import synthetic drugs into the United States where they face a 20 year sentence. In 2012 the first National Synthetic Drug Takedown occurred in Florida where the Drug Enforcement Agency arrested nine individuals who were charged with the manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs throughout the state of Florida.
What constitutes a Synthetic Drug in Florida?
In Florida, synthetic drugs are considered a schedule 1 controlled substance. This means that there is a high potential for abuse and that synthetic drugs have no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. In fact, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network report, more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide involved a synthetic drug use. The majority of those people were between the ages of 12-17.
Synthetic Drugs are divided into two categories Cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana) and Cathinones and designer phenethylamines (also known as bath salts). The University of Florida College of Medicine released a report highlighting the physical effects for each category:
- Synthetic Marijuana: The effects of cannabinoids include agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, and hallucinations.
- Bath Salts: The effects of these drugs are increased heart rate and blood pressure, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior, causing users to harm themselves or others.
How are synthetic drugs packaged and sold in Florida?
According to federal sources bath salts are usually white or brown crystalline powder and are sold in small plastic or foil packages labeled “not for human consumption.” The drugs are sold under the names as “plant food”, “jewelry cleaner”, “ “Ivory Wave,” “Bloom,” “Cloud Nine,” “Lunar Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” “White Lightning,” and “Scarface. The most common names for synthetic marijuana are K2 and Spice, but it is also sold as Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Blaze, Genie, Spice, Zohai, JWH -018, -073, -250, Yucatan Fire, Skunk and Moon Rocks. The drug is typically sold in small, silvery plastic bags of dried leaves and marketed as incense that can be smoked. It is said to resemble potpourri.
Possession of a Synthetic Drug in Florida
It is a third-degree felony for an individual to sell, manufacture or deliver, or possesses with the intent to sell, manufacture or deliver a synthetic drug in the state of Florida. The penalties associated with a third degree felony conviction are a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and a $5000 fine. Fines and prison time may increase if an individual is considered a habitual offender.
Contacting a Drug Defense Attorney in Miami or Ft. Lauderdale
Possession of synthetic drug can be a serious offense in Florida; if convicted, you could face imprisonment, fines, and a permanent criminal record. At the Falk & Ross Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of residents accused of committing criminal offenses. To learn how we can help, and to receive a complimentary consultation on your Miami or other Florida case, call a drug defense attorney at 877-663-5110 today.
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