Law Offices of Jeffrey C. Grass Articles Synthetic Marijuana Stays One Step Ahead of Texas Lawmakers

Synthetic Marijuana Stays One Step Ahead of Texas Lawmakers

By Jeffrey Grass, Esq.  Nov. 8, 2012 2:57p

Synthetic Marijuana Stays One Step Ahead of Texas Lawmakers

Like many other states have done recently, Texas enacted legislation last year that attempted to outlaw synthetic marijuana, often referred to as K2 or "spice." The ban, which went into effect on April 22, 2011, made it illegal to manufacture, produce, distribute, sell or possess the synthetic marijuana, individually banning over 140 different chemical substances that can be used to make the drug.

New Formulas Complicate Enforcement

Despite this seemingly expansive ban, however, similar products have emerged to take the place of the outlawed substances, skirting the ban through the use of slightly altered chemical formulas that are not technically illegal. These new products are widely available at convenience stores, gas stations and head shops, where, like the original banned substances, they are frequently marketed as herbal incense.

With the huge array of similar compounds on the market, some legal and some not, law enforcement agencies in Texas and nationwide are having difficulty enforcing the ban on synthetic marijuana. Because the differences between the legal and illegal forms of the substance are so subtle, it is often impossible for law enforcement to distinguish drug crimes from lawful activity. There have been several reports of police raids involving the seizure of what turned out to be legal substances.

Texas Synthetic Marijuana Laws

The banned forms of synthetic marijuana are listed in penalty group 2A of the Texas Controlled Substances Act. Violation of the synthetic marijuana ban may result in charges ranging from a Class A or Class B misdemeanor to a felony in the first degree, depending on the offense and the quantity of the illegal substance involved. Thus, in a worst case scenario, a person convicted of manufacturing or possessing over 400 grams of prohibited synthetic marijuana with the intent to sell could receive a prison sentence of 10 years to life, as well as a fine of up to $100,000.

If you are facing charges for a drug crime in Texas, be sure to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, who can advise you of your rights and fight hard on your behalf to defend against the charges.

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