If you have recently been accused of possessing synthetic marijuana, you probably have many questions about your next steps. You need to consult with an experienced Houston drug defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected going forward.
What is Synthetic Marijuana
As the name suggests, synthetic marijuana refers to a compound developed in a lab that is designed to allow the user to experience effects similar to THC. While the drug is smoked like marijuana, synthetic marijuana can lead to serious side effects and issues for users. The chemicals inside synthetic marijuana can be very harmful and may lead to convulsions, hallucinations, and seizures.
In Texas, synthetic marijuana is illegal. The chemicals often used to create synthetic marijuana are related to some of the chemicals inside marijuana plant, but marijuana and synthetic marijuana are not one and the same.
Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse reveals that synthetic marijuana, despite its dangers, is experiencing a surge in usage. Synthetic marijuana ranks right behind marijuana itself for the most used illicit drugs across the country. Synthetic marijuana might mimic the characteristics of marijuana, but this misnomer often leads to confusion. Synthetic marijuana typically comes in packets labeled “not for human consumption” and may be called spice, K2, Kush, or mamba.
Just How Dangerous is Synthetic Marijuana?
How much an individual is impacted by smoking synthetic marijuana depends on the compounds inside. The compounds can be changed from one lab to another, and the differences in power mean that one packet of synthetic marijuana could be 25 times more potent than another.
Synthetic marijuana has been getting increasing attention in the media. Last week, 16 individuals were taken to the hospital from Hermann Park, several of whom were suffering side effects from using synthetic marijuana.
Synthetic Marijuana Laws in Texas
Since 2010, hundreds of calls came in to the Poison Center Network associated with exposure to K2 and other related synthetic marijuana products. In 2013 alone, more than 464 Texas incidents associated with synthetic marijuana exposure were recorded. The following year, the number jumped to 764. Recognizing the growth of the problem, Texas took action to ban the distribution, manufacture, sale, or possession of any synthetic marijuana substances.
The classification of these compounds was revised in 2015 by the Texas Legislature to include 1,000 possible synthetic marijuana compounds. When police arrest someone for having, selling, or manufacturing K2, they must get the drug tested in order to ensure that the compounds falls under the Texas guidelines to pursue criminal charges. The police have been challenged by these laws in the past, which is why Texas legislature increased the number of compounds that could lead to criminal charges.
Penalties for Possession of Synthetic Marijuana
With an increased awareness of the dangers of this drug and a legislative crackdown, it’s important to understand what to do next if you have been accused of a synthetic marijuana crime. Laws in Texas allow for penalties similar to marijuana possession, and synthetic marijuana falls under the classification of Penalty Group 2-A. The penalties for possession depend on the amount of synthetic marijuana found; less than two ounces will most likely be charged as a misdemeanor with up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine, whereas having more than 2,000 pounds of the substance could carry a life jail sentence and a $50,000 fine.
Regardless of the synthetic marijuana crime you’re being charged with, you should contact an attorney right away. When you need representation you can trust, contact a Houston synthetic marijuana criminal defense attorney.