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What are Synthetic Cannabinoids? Are they legal in Texas?

Synthetic cannabinoids are chemicals that are contained in products known as K2 and Spice but do not contain any cannabis (THC). Synthetic cannabinoids are used in attempt to avoid Federal and State laws that make marijuana illegal. These synthetic cannabinoids were developed by Pfizer in 1980 and they produce cannabis type effects when ingested.

On May 24, 2012, the Federal Government passed the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act." This criminalized the possession of all cannabimimetic agents, and added them to Schedule 1 of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

On September 1, 2011, the State of Texas banned the possession of synthetic cannabinoids. Unlike all other banned substances in the Texas Controlled Substances Act, possession of synthetic cannabinoids is not criminalized by weight. Possession of ANY amount of synthetic cannabinoids is an automatic state jail felony. Keep in mind that synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 and Spice are basically synthetic marijuana. Possession of marijuana is criminalized by weight. For example, possession of under 4 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor, while possession of any amount of K2 or Spice is a felony.

Many people falsely assume that synthetic marijuana would be criminalized less severely that possession of the real thing. On this issue, Texas has chosen not to apply common sense. Do not be fooled into thinking that this type of offense is punishable by a ticket. If law enforcement discovers that you are in possession of any amount of synthetic marijuana, you will be arrested and charged with a state jail felony. A state jail felony in punishable by confinement in the state jail not less than 180 days, and more than 2 years, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00.

If you have been arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana it would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney before speaking to the police or going to court. If you have any questions please contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson.