Pennsylvania Spice Laws

Are you facing synthetic marijuana possession charges in Lancaster County, Lebanon County or Berks County, Pennsylvania? Do you know what consequences you may face if convicted? Are you aware of the very serious repercussions a drug charge will have in your financial, personal and professional lives? A drug charge is incredibly serious and needs to be treated as such. To get through this you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney serving the accused in the Lancaster, Lebanon or Reading, Pennsylvania areas.

What Is Spice?

In Pennsylvania a new designer drug has become very common. The drug is synthetic marijuana and is commonly referred to as ‘Spice’. As with many street drugs, synthetic marijuana is very popular among young adults and juveniles.

Unlike old-fashioned, naturally grown marijuana, synthetic marijuana was sold over the counter by a variety of retail establishments such as gas stations and corner groceries under brand names such as “Spice,” “K2,” and “Red X Dawn.” These products were often marketed as a safer herbal alternative to marijuana. In essence, synthetic marijuana is plant material that has been treated with a coating of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The term “synthetic marijuana” refers to any of the following substances:

(1) 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018).

(2) 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073).

(3) 1-U2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200).

(4) 5-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-2-U(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol( CP-47,497).

(5) 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-U(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47, 497 C8 homologue).

Although synthetic marijuana looks like marijuana, scientific evidence indicates that is significantly more potent. As a result, the symptoms are more severe, including loss of consciousness, paranoia, and psychotic episodes.  A more common way of describing the effects of synthetic marijuana is “couch lock”. This means that the drug is so potent you are unable to get off the couch.

Pennsylvania Spice Statutes

Legislation banning the sale and use of many synthetic drugs popular today was recently enacted into Pennsylvania law. These new laws went into effect in 2013. Proponents of the legislation claim it can save lives by limiting access to these readily available designer drugs. The law, which took effect 60 days after its signing in 2013, lists the types of prohibited synthetic drugs and outlines penalties for both delivery, or intent to deliver, and possession of these substances.

Throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there has been an increase in violent drug crimes involving synthetic marijuana. This prompted county and other municipalities to issue injunctions to local merchants prohibiting the sale of certain synthetic drugs like bath salts, synthetic marijuana and salvia divinorum, an herb mixture with hallucinogenic affects.

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania wasted no time in banning synthetic drugs such as spice and bath salts. This was done in an effort to offset how quickly these designer drugs can escalate in both sale and use. The original bill was amended in May of 2013 to add 2C-E, a drug similar to LSD, and re-passed by the General Assembly in June. By the time the Governor signed the bill into law in late June, it had only spent approximately two months under consideration.

The Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act was amended to include all synthetic cannabinoids and any substance containing a mixture of certain chemicals known to be used in synthetic drugs or bath salts like salvia divinorum, methylone, mephedrone or 2C-E and other related psychedelic phenethylamines.

Spice Penalties In Pennsylvania

The penalties for a first offense for delivery of or intent to deliver synthetic drugs are up to five years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine. Possession penalties are up to one year imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

Defending Drug Crimes

Prior to the legislative ban on synthetic substances, these designer drugs were readily available for purchase, and legally sold by merchants, in local tobacco shops and convenience stores. In addition, since users were not previously punished for possession, using synthetic drugs seemed acceptable. Pennsylvania’s new law prohibiting synthetic drugs has changed the climate for both sellers and users, creating consequences for those who choose to continue the sale or use of synthetic substances after the law takes effect.

If you are arrested for or charged with any drug crime, including the new crimes for delivering, intending to deliver or possessing synthetic drugs, you need a Pennsylvania drug crimes defense attorney in your corner immediately. A Reading, Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer experienced in defending drug crimes can help you better navigate the criminal justice system and may be able to get your charges and related penalties dismissed or reduced.

Contact Our PA Spice Possession Defense Attorneys

Our Reading divorce lawyers, Lancaster criminal defense lawyers and Lebanon DUI defense attorneys serve all of Berks County, Lancaster County and Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. This includes Reading, Lancaster, Lebanon, Palmyra, Annville, Cornwall, Wyomissing, Blandon, Shillington, Birdsboro, Womelsdorf, Kutztown, Albany, Akron, Manheim, Lititz, Quarryville, Ephrata, Elizabethtown, Columbia, Millersville, Willow Street, Mount Joy, Leola, Intercourse and Denver, Pennsylvania.