Synthetic Marijuana Can Be the Basis of Drug Charges

Several weeks ago, we told you about the case of a man who was accused of distributing synthetic marijuana in a New Jersey jail. It’s possible that some of our readers may be confused by the term “synthetic marijuana.” What is this stuff? It may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some facts about this substance in the event you encounter it.

Synthetic marijuana is sometimes called spice or K2, and it has a host of other nicknames. It does not consist of, nor is it derived from, the cannabis plant. Rather, it typically consists of dried plant material and chemical additives. It looks like potpourri, and until a few years ago it was widely available at truck stops, head shops and other retailers.

Often, packages of synthetic marijuana are marked “natural.” However, the federal government takes issue with this labeling. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, various chemicals are usually added to synthetic marijuana. These chemicals are what provide the psychoactive effects that have caused the substance’s proponents to liken it to marijuana, according to the institute.

In prosecuting synthetic marijuana cases, the government has a big problem. In order to prosecute a person on drug charges, the active chemicals in the drug in question must be listed as a controlled substance by the government. But manufacturers of synthetic marijuana change the active chemicals in their products all the time in order to keep one step ahead of the law. If the chemical in the synthetic marijuana wasn’t actually listed as a controlled chemical at the time that the drug offenses allegedly occurred, the government may not be able to prosecute the defendant.

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