As both federal and state laws across the country appear to be heading towards lessening – if not eliminating completely – criminal charges for possession and use of marijuana, there is a concerted effort on law enforcement to crack down on the availability of synthetic marijuana. A year-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently led to the breakup of a major drug ring in New York City. The sweep led to the arrest of ten men, and the seizure of more than 200 kilograms of chemicals used to manufacture the synthetic marijuana. DEA agents also seized more than 275,000 packets of the drug, which has a street value of approximately $30 million.
Synthetic marijuana, which goes by the street names of Spice or K2, is smoked just like pot. It is manufactured by adding dangerous chemicals to tea leaves or other types of spices or herbs. The product is then packaged up in small foil packets.
However, unlike the effects of regular marijuana, Spice often leaves users with dangerous side-effects, including:
Synthetic marijuana has been banned in Illinois since January 1, 2012. Spice is considered an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance and anyone arrested for selling the drug – a Class 3 felony – faces a prison sentence of up to five years and a $150,000 fine. If a person is found with more than 200 grams of the drug, that prison sentence jumps to up to 30 years and the fine increases to up to $500,000. Even a person charged with simple possession faces felony charges. The Class 4 felony conviction could bring with it a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to $25,000. A federal law banning synthetic marijuana, Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, was signed into law on July 9, 2012.
If you have been charged with possession or intent to distribute synthetic marijuana, or any other drug crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal law attorney. Call Attorney Scott F. Anderson at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation today.
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