Synthetic Cannabis Penalties

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What Is Synthetic Cannabis?

"Synthetic cannabis" is a term used to describe a number of products that are intended to mimic the psychoactive effects of the marijuana plant when smoked or ingested. Synthetic cannabis is also called synthetic marijuana or fake marijuana. It usually consists of leaves that look like marijuana plants which are treated with chemical mixtures. It is often marketed under other names such as "Spice," "potpourri," "incense," and other terms.

Like other synthetic drugs, it can sometimes be hard to regulate fake marijuana due to the way it is packaged and labeled (often marked "not for human consumption"). They may sometimes look like soap or incense products; however, underground markets often inform users of how to spot and purchase synthetic marijuana at local smoke shops or "head" shops. The actual chemical makeup of synthetic marijuana may be very inconsistent and can include a number of substances that are dangerous to consume.

What Are the Penalties for Synthetic Cannabis Crimes?

Under federal law, both possession and sale/distribution of synthetic cannabis is illegal. State laws may also impose penalties for such crimes. Possession of synthetic cannabis usually leads to misdemeanor charges, punishable by fines of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year. In some states (such as California), possession of synthetic cannabis is not illegal. However, it is still illegal under federal law.

In most states, distribution, sale, and manufacturing of synthetic cannabis are illegal. These can lead to greater felony charges, punishable by larger monetary fines and longer jail sentences. Possession of a large amount may lead to the inference that the person intended to sell or distribute the drug.

Federal felony charges can also result for drug activity committed on federally owned areas such as:

Why Is Synthetic Cannabis Illegal?

Synthetic cannabis is highly regulated due to its dangerous nature. Like other synthetic drugs (such as bath salts and other mixtures), synthetic cannabis is associated with a number of side effects and adverse reactions. These may include: anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, seizures/spasms, changes in mood/thought/perception, and even death.

Many instances of violent suicides have also been linked to synthetic drug use (even in cases involving one-time usage). Some studies have shown that synthetic drugs are more addictive than stimulants such as methamphetamines. Consumers should inform authorities of any products being sold that might be used or marketed as synthetic cannabis.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Synthetic Cannabis Charges?

Synthetic cannabis laws can be very strict and may lead to some serious criminal charges. They may vary widely from state to state as well and can be subject to continual change and updating. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you need assistance with any type of synthetic cannabis legal issue. Your attorney can provide you with legal research and assistance with the laws in your state. Also, your lawyer can represent you in court if you need to attend any hearings.

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Last Modified: 04-17-2015 11:23 AM PDT

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