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Can I get arrested for possessing synthetic marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana is often marketed as an easy and "legal" substance to get high. Those who use, manufacture and/or sell synthetic marijuana claim that the THC -- which is the substance in marijuana that gives users their "high" feeling -- is mimicked in synthetic cannabinoids.

A survey in 2012 found that one in nine high school seniors had used synthetic marijuana in the past year. The Monitoring the Future survey reports that only marijuana tops synthetic pot as the most commonly used illicit drug for 12th graders.

Synthetic marijuana was first reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in December 2008. A shipment of it arrived in Dayton, Ohio, and was seized by CBP. In 2012 alone, 51 new types of synthetic pot were identified. Just three years earlier, there were only two.

Synthetic marijuana is sold online, in head shops and in gas stations; however, Congress is trying to ban many of these types of substances. In 2012, the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act was signed into law. It gives the Drug Enforcement Administration more time to administratively schedule substances as controlled substances. There are already laws in place that will identify synthetic drugs as controlled substances.

Synthetic marijuana goes by a lot of names on the street, such as K2 or Spice and it's labeled "not for human consumption" as a way to keep the DEA from regulating or banning it.

North Carolina banned synthetic marijuana in 2001. If you are facing a charge that involves this illegal drug, it's imperative that you locate an attorney familiar with synthetic marijuana defenses. Because of its relatively new presence in the courtroom, these charges need a strong defense to mitigate the potential consequences.

Source: The White House, "Synthetic Drugs (a.k.a. K2, Spice, Bath Salts, etc.)," accessed June 05, 2015

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