hand holding a bag of marijuana.Every year, many people are hospitalized for using something known as “synthetic marijuana,” which sometimes causes users to act erratically and experience respiratory issues. Synthetic Marijuana is sold under such names as “K2” and “Spice” but is essentially just a bunch of industrial chemicals that are sprayed onto dried leaves and sold under various company names. Spice was originally developed in the 1990s by a man who was attempting to imitate cannabinoids, the active chemicals that are found in cannabis. Many people smoke spice because it is cheaper than its natural counterpart. However, it is becoming less acceptable and being legally banned in many states because of its dangerous effects.

Synthetic marijuana may look like marijuana, but it is significantly more potent and can cause many more severe symptoms. These include loss of consciousness, paranoia, and psychotic episodes in some circumstances. Many people say that synthetic marijuana causes users to have a “couch lock,” meaning they find it difficult to get off the couch. This is why many states have been taking action to attempt to stop users from buying this dangerous drug that can cause ill health effects.

California’s Ban 

In 2011, California took action and criminalized the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana. They added Health and Safety Code Section 11357.5 as a measure to make selling, possessing, or distributing spice a misdemeanor. California has actually found that these cases are pretty rare; however, when they do occur in the courts, they are taken very seriously. Because California has made it illegal to sell spice in stores to consumers, those in charge of “head shops” may be charged with a crime if they are caught dealing. In the past, the laws have been a bit blurred and regulation has not been possible because fake marijuana is packaged and labeled a certain way, often marked with “not for human consumption.” However, over the years, the laws have become clearer.

Because possession and sale of synthetic cannabis is illegal under federal law, state laws may also choose to impose penalties for these serious crimes that could have dangerous effects on those who purchase. Possession in itself will usually lead to misdemeanor charges that are punishable of up to $1,000 and jail time that could span up to a year. It is important to know, with help from your attorney, that possession of spice is not illegal from a state level, but it is on a federal level.

However, selling spice is a bit different and can carry much more than possession charges, sometimes being charged as a felony. This means that it will be punishable by larger monetary fines and longer jail sentences. If you are caught with a large amount of spice, the courts will assume that you were about to sell the drug to consumers. In any circumstance, you should have a skilled defense attorney handle your case if you were charged with possessing or selling synthetic marijuana. Call us today for more.