Los Angeles Synthetic Marijuana Attorneys
Marijuana is mostly decriminalized in the state of California. If you’re an adult, you’re free to buy, possess, and use the popular drug with very few restrictions. However, the same freedoms do not apply to synthetic cannabinoids. It is against the law to possess or sell any amount of a synthetic marijuana drug.
Have you been arrested for a synthetic cannabinoid drug crime in Los Angeles? Contact the Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. Even though California has some of the most relaxed drug laws in the state, drug crimes are still taken very seriously. Hiring an attorney to handle your defense will help you secure the best outcome in your criminal case. Call our experienced criminal defense attorneys to schedule your free consultation today.
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
Before marijuana was legalized in California, synthetic versions of the drug – commonly known as Spice, Herbal incense, or K2 – became quite popular. Why? Many manufacturers claim that synthetic versions of marijuana are more potent than the real thing but won’t show up on a drug test. This offered a new way to enjoy marijuana without having to risk your job or failing a court-ordered drug test.
Synthetic marijuana remains popular today despite the legalization of marijuana. Drug tests are still quite common. Even though marijuana use has been decriminalized, there are still social and civil consequences that can result from the use of the drug. If synthetic cannabinoids won’t show up on a drug test, many feel more comfortable using the alternative.
Why are synthetic cannabinoids illegal? Marijuana is a naturally-occurring substance in nature. There’s very little processing involved in getting the drug ready for use. Synthetic cannabinoids, on the other hand, are manufactured. Specifically, synthetic marijuana is commonly made by processing plant material with synthetic chemicals. The drug can typically be smoked or consumed in a liquid form.
Since it’s a black market, there are no quality control standards or safety regulations in place. The quality and safeness of a synthetic drug are often unknown. As a result, synthetic drugs, including cannabis, can be incredibly dangerous if consumed. In recent years, fake weed has resulted in many fatal overdoses. California state law prohibits synthetic cannabinoid use as a way to protect the public.
California Health and Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC
Synthetic cannabinoids are illegal in the state of California. Specifically, Health and Safety Code 11357.5 HSC explains that it is a crime to:
- Possess, or
- Possess for sale
any synthetic cannabinoid compound or any synthetic cannabinoid derivative.
Synthetic Cannabinoid Compounds
11357.5 HSC applies to any synthetic cannabinoid compound or derivative. Common synthetic cannabinoids include:
- Adamantoylindoles (JWH-018)
- Tetramethylcyclopropanoylindoles, and
- Any unclassified synthetic cannabinoids.
It’s also unlawful to possess or sell analogs of a synthetic cannabinoid. An analog is any drug that (a) is intended to have the same effect as synthetic cannabinoids or (b) has a similar chemical structure.
If a drug is supposed to mimic cannabis and provide the same physiological effects, it will probably be considered a synthetic cannabinoid or analog. However, only the compounds listed in 11357.5 HSC will generate successful criminal charges.
Penalties for Synthetic Cannabinoid Crimes
There are two distinct synthetic cannabinoid crimes under 11357.5 HSC. The first involves selling or distributing the drug, while the second involves possession with the intent to sell. The penalties you face will ultimately depend on the specific charges you face.
Selling or Offering to Sell Synthetic Cannabis
It is a misdemeanor offense to sell, dispense, furnish, or give synthetic marijuana to another person. It’s also a misdemeanor to attempt or offer to do any of these things. Penalties for selling synthetic cannabinoids include:
- 6 months in a Los Angeles County Jail
- $1,000 in fines, and/or
Possession for Sale of Synthetic Cannabis
It is a public offense to possess synthetic cannabinoids with the intent to sell. Penalties for possession with the intent to sell will depend on your criminal record.
A first offense is an infraction, punishable by a fine of $250.
A second offense can be an infraction, punishable by a fine of $250, OR a misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.
A third or subsequent offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Defending Charges for Synthetic Cannabinoid Crimes
Just because you’ve been arrested for selling or possessing synthetic cannabinoids doesn’t mean that you will be convicted of a crime. Prosecutors have to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high burden of proof. You can make the state’s job much more difficult by asserting a strong defense.
Arguments that may help your defense include:
- You did not sell or attempt to sell the drug
- The drug is not recognized as an illegal synthetic cannabinoid under 11357.5 HSC
- You did not have possession of the drug
- You have been falsely accused
- Entrapment, or
- Your rights have been violated by the police.
Drug crime prosecutions rely heavily on direct physical evidence. This can include drugs, paraphernalia, and/or packing materials. The last thing the state will want is for evidence to be suppressed. However, this is exactly what should happen if the state obtains evidence in violation of your rights.
Were you the victim of an unlawful search or seizure? Did police arrest you without cause? If so, any evidence tainted by these unlawful actions should be excluded from your case. If a judge grants your motion to suppress the tainted evidence, the state may be forced to drop the charges or consider a plea.
Los Angeles Synthetic Marijuana Attorneys
Have you been arrested for selling, attempting to sell, or possession of synthetic cannabis? Do not hesitate to contact our experienced Los Angeles drug crime attorneys for help. A drug-related conviction can devastate your future. A criminal record can make it tough to find a job, secure housing, or do things you once took for granted. You have the right to defend yourself, and our attorneys can help.
Call our Los Angeles office to schedule your free consultation today. We will review your case, explain your rights, and answer any questions you have. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin to build your defense.