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What constitutes drug paraphernalia?

It's illegal to possess drug paraphernalia – everyone knows this – but many people don't exactly know what legally constitutes drug paraphernalia. This is because anything can be drug paraphernalia given the right context. Imagine a piece of tinfoil. If the tinfoil is wrapped around a banana in the refrigerator, it's just a piece of tinfoil. If it's wrapped around an apple that's been carved out to serve as a makeshift marijuana pipe, on the other hand, and it has marijuana smoke residue inside it, then it's drug paraphernalia.

Here are a few more examples of drug paraphernalia to give you a better idea of how many common, everyday objects could become contraband if police find them in the wrong context:

Pipes: Any kind of pipe could be used to smoke tobacco or marijuana. If police find marijuana inside the pipe, it's drug paraphernalia. If they find tobacco in it, it's not.

Water bongs: The same can be said for water bongs. If they haven't been used to smoke marijuana, they're legal to possess.

Rolling papers: Here we have another item that could be used for both legitimate and unlawful purposes. If police find a stash of marijuana in your nightstand drawer, you could be accused of drug possession. If they find rolling papers next to the marijuana, police might add a drug possession crime to your charges.

Plastic baggies: Little plastic baggies are great for stashing your vitamins while you're traveling. But they're also great for stashing heroin, especially when someone wants to sell it or purchase it. Found in the wrong context, little baggies could be drug paraphernalia.

A scale: A scale may also be a type of drug paraphernalia if police suspect it is being used to measure drugs.

If you've been accused of drug paraphernalia possession, you might be able to defend against the charges in court. Ultimately, no one in North Carolina will be convicted or punished for a drug paraphernalia possession crime until -- and only if -- he or she is proved to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Source: Findlaw, "Types of Drug Crimes," accessed June 01, 2018

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