While many refer to Spice as synthetic marijuana, the reality is that marijuana
and spice are like apples and oranges – poisonous oranges.
Despite its attractive package and innocuous branding as “incense”
or “potpourri,” spice is a nasty combination of largely unregulated
chemicals that are sprayed on leaves and smoked.
An article in today’s
Washington Post lays out the recent spike in problems associated with the violent and
unpredictable behavior of those who smoke spice (also known as K2) in
our nation’s capital. It also provides an excellent graphic showing
the physiological differences of marijuana and spice.
Phoenix criminal defense attorney who has defended hundreds of clients charged with conspiracy to distribute
transportation of marijuana for sale, and related marijuana trafficking offenses, there is certainly a recent
trend in the prosecution of synthetic drugs such as spice and bath salts.
And while I do not profess to be able to read the mind of the Justice
Department, nor will I presume its motivations in being so aggressive
in prosecuting synthetic drugs, the difference in effects between marijuana
and spice, as well the marketing of spice toward kids (See Scooby Doo,
above) have got to be high on the list.
The Legality of Spice Under the Analogue Act
Federal Analogue Act,
21 U.S.C. 813, is a section of the United States Controlled Substance Act passed in
1986 which allowed any chemical “substantially similar” to
a controlled listed in Schedule 1 or 2 to be treated as if it were also
listed in those schedules, but only if intended for human consumption.
These similar substances are often called designer drugs.
So What Does This Mean in English?
–Any drug that does not contain a banned substance, but contains
one that is substantially similar to a pharmacological or chemical level
to a substance that is banned, is illegal.
In fact, on June 18, 2015, the Supreme Court said that the Analogue Act
is legal. You can read the Supreme Court’s opinion
But It Says Not for Human Consumption
The Analogue Act only prohibits designer drugs that are
for human consumption, so manufacturers label it as not for human consumption to skirt the law.
That’s about as effective as me calling a dog a goat and having everyone
believe that it’s actually a goat.
Other Ways to Get Prosecuted
Another way the government prosecutes distributors of both marijuana and
spice is through bringing
white collar charges such as
money laundering and tax evasion. If you receive proceeds from a drug offense, including
marijuana and spice, you could be prosecuted in federal court for money
laundering. Similarly, if it can be shown that you did not pay taxes on
the money earned from the production or distribution of a drug, you can
also be prosecuted for tax evasion. Even without getting charged for distributing
the drug itself, the end around that federal prosecutors can employ may
result in even higher sentences than would have resulted from a conviction
for conspiracy to distribute.
Get Legal Help Now
Because of the complexities of drug conspiracy cases, including cocaine,
heroin, molly, marijuana and spice, it can be years until charges are
ever filed. If you or someone you know is charged or may be charged, now
is the time to get experienced legal representation. You don’t want
to wait until federal agents are breaking down your door with an arrest
warrant in hand. The best defense is to go on the offensive. Please
contact us if you want to be proactive in your defense and hire one of Phoenix’s
most aggressive criminal defense attorneys to protect your rights and
case evaluation with Jason D. Lamm today to discuss the charges of your drug crime case.