According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN), synthetic marijuana hit Oklahoma “almost overnight” in 2008. Using a loophole in the law, people were able to buy synthetic drugs that mimicked the effects of marijuana and other controlled substances. Not understanding the dangers associated with a “legal high,” many people have become seriously ill from using synthetic drugs.
The chemicals used to produce synthetic marijuana known as K2 or “spice” were quickly banned. However, as soon as Oklahoma law prohibited one blend, synthetic drug manufacturers altered the formulas, producing other synthetic drugs. Oklahoma law enforcement was left playing catch-up with synthetic drugs.
On November 1, 2014, House Bill 2666 became law, adding 150 more chemical concoctions to the previously existing 142 variations of K2 and synthetic drugs prohibited by state law. These compounds are classified as Schedule I drugs, and as such, their possession or distribution is punishable by harsh sentencing under Oklahoma’s notoriously tough drug laws.
Being caught with marijuana for the first time is a misdemeanor. Being caught with K2 or spice is a felony. Never consent to a search, and never give any statement to police regarding the presence of drugs on your person or property. If you are found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana or other controlled substance, it is critical that you contact a defense attorney at once.
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), synthetic marijuana is a mixture of herbs and spices that is then sprayed with a synthetic chemical that is structurally similar to THC, the active chemical in marijuana. K2 is banned across the United States, but it is still illegally sold in head shops and online, marketed as “potpourri” or “incense.”
Street names for synthetic marijuana include:
The effects of synthetic THC are similar to those of marijuana, and may include not only giddiness, but also panic attacks, paranoia, and increased blood pressure. Because synthetic drug manufacturers are continually manipulating their formulations in an attempt to circumvent state and federal law, users have no knowledge of the particular blend of chemicals used to mimic THC, and therefore, there is no guarantee of their safety or effects.
Sale of synthetic marijuana, even packaged as “potpourri” and “not for human consumption” is illegal. Penalties for synthetic drug distribution are severe.
State law defines Schedule I controlled substances as those which have high potential for abuse and which have no legitimate medical purpose in the United States. These are considered to be the most dangerous drugs, and they include heroin, PCP, and marijuana.
The chemical compounds used to produce synthetic drugs are also listed as Schedule I drugs under 63 O.S. § 2-204.
Oklahoma law punishes drug offenses, in part, based upon the type of controlled substance involved. For example, possession of a Schedule I or II CDS without a valid prescription is a felony punishable by 4 to 20 years in prison, even for a first offense. Possession of a Schedule III, IV, or V CDS, on the other hand, is a misdemeanor on the first offense; a second offense, however, is a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
While marijuana is a Schedule I drug, its possession is penalized in accordance with possession of lesser schedule drugs. However, no such stipulation is made for the possession of synthetic marijuana, also classified as a Schedule I CDS.
In fact, under 63 O.S. § 4-401(C), the manufacture, cultivation, distribution, or possession with intent to distribute a synthetic controlled substance without the authorization of the United States Food and Drug Administration is a felony punishable by a maximum of life in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 on the first offense. A second or subsequent offense also carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, but the fine is elevated to $100,000. This fine, by law, is in addition to any other sentence and may not be given in place of a prison term.
Furthermore, anyone convicted of a second or subsequent offense of manufacturing, cultivating, distributing, or possessing with intent to distribute a synthetic CDS is prosecuted as a habitual offender. The minimum penalties for habitual offenders under 21 O.S. § 51.1 are twice those of the minimum penalty for the first offense.
Whether you are the owner of a convenience store or head shop looking to make a quick profit selling synthetic marijuana as “potpourri” or whether you are accused of sharing your K2 with friends at a party, the risk far outweighs the benefit.
With Oklahoma’s strict synthetic drug laws in place, any drug offense involving synthetic marijuana could lead to significant prison terms and mandatory minimum sentencing.
If you are found to be in possession of synthetic marijuana, or if you are under investigation for distribution of K2, a skilled defense attorney knowledgeable of Oklahoma synthetic drug laws can help. Call (405) 417-3842 of submit our confidential case review form to get started.