Synthetics Now Bring Tougher Penalties

You may have found yourself in the following scenario: you and a few friends are heading to Florida for the weekend, looking to have a good time and enjoy the beach.  To enjoy the trip, and to presumably avoid any run-ins with law enforcement, you stop by the local gas station and pick up some K2, Spice, Mr. Nice Guy, or Galaxy Gold.  Ten minutes later your handcuffed sitting in the back of a police car and the clerk at the gas station is sitting with you.  Unfortunately for you, yourself and the clerk were not aware that K2 is now illegal and gets you a quick trip to the local jail for processing.

The passage of Senate Bill 370, Chase’s Law, 2012 Ga. L. 434, all forms of synthetic marijuana are now illegal in the state of Georgia.  Synthetic marijuana, a mixed-compound containing dried vegetation and similar substances found in marijuana, has been categorized as a Schedule I substance and now carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two (2) years in prison, with a maximum of fifteen (15) years in prison for possession.

Unfortunately, the news has been slow to spread, and gas stations across the state are still selling synthetic marijuana out of back rooms to unsuspecting customers.  Perhaps more unfortunately, your defense of “I did not know it was illegal” is not going to get you out of jail.  Regardless of whether the clerk said it was legal and regardless of whether the 7/11 or BP has it hanging on a rack at the front of the store, you will be arrested if you are caught possessing any form of your favorite K2.  The good news, however, is that as with any crime, there are always a number of defenses.  Was there probable cause to arrest?  Is seeing a material that appears to resemble a “green leafy substance” enough for an arrest?  Will an officer be able to correctly perform a test of the substance to prove its chemical structure?

At the Sellers Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense team is always on the cutting edge of criminal defense.  As the laws change, our criminal defense team proactively shifts to provide the most effective counsel for our clients.  If you find yourself in the scenario above, call our office today for a consultation at the Sellers Law Firm: where clients become family.