For several years, synthetic cannabinoids (better known as synthetic marijuana) was legal to purchase and use under Texas law. Billed as “legal weed,” synthetic marijuana was marketed as a safe, natural, and legal alternative to pot. But the reality is that synthetic marijuana is not marijuana at all; the effects of the drug are much more severe, harmful and unpredictable. For those reasons, the Texas legislature outlawed synthetic cannabinoids in 2015. From a health standpoint, synthetic marijuana is a severe brain-altering drug that can have devastating long term neurological consequences--in addition to the legal consequences.
If you have been arrested in the State of Texas for possession of synthetic marijuana, you could face life-altering consequences. Depending on the amount of the drug you possess, a conviction could cost you years of your life behind bars.
An arrest for possession of synthetic marijuana doesn't always result in a conviction, however. In some cases, an experienced drug possession attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or even dismissed entirely. If you are facing possession of synthetic marijuana charges in the Houston, Texas area, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your options right away.
What is Synthetic Marijuana?
First and foremost, synthetic marijuana is not marijuana in any sense of the word. Despite often being referred to as synthetic marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids are molecules that simulate the THC contained in marijuana. While synthetic cannabinoids have similar psychoactive effects as marijuana, the results of consuming them can vary greatly. In most cases, the “high” experienced is far more concentrated than marijuana. What's more, synthetic cannabinoids have serious side effects not present in marijuana including:
- heart palpitations,
- seizures, and
Also unlike marijuana, the use of these synthetic drugs is highly addictive and habit forming.
When it comes to synthetic marijuana, there are too many variations to track. The first known version of the drug was marketed under the name “Spice” beginning in 2005. Since then, dozens of similar products have been released worldwide. The drug comes in liquid form and can be sprayed on tobacco products and smoked. It can also be added to tea or food.
Common Street Names for Synthetic Marijuana
There are a number of street names for synthetic marijuana, including:
- Spice Gold
- Spice Silver
- Spice Diamond
- Yucatan Fire
- Black Mamba
- Bombay Blue
- Fake Weed
- Red Magic
- Ace of Spades
- Chronic Hypnotic
- Moon Rocks
What are the effects of synthetic marijuana?
Common effects of using synthetic marijuana include an intense “high” similar to that of marijuana, but with much more significant side effects. These side effects include
- panic attacks, and
In the most serious cases, users died from acute poisoning related to the use of K2. Synthetic marijuana is highly addictive, with withdrawal symptoms common among users that attempt to stop abusing the drug.
How is synthetic marijuana classified under federal law?
According to federal law, all controlled substances are sorted into five different groups known as drug schedules. The five drug schedules are governed by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Each schedule groups drugs that are similarly addictive together, with Schedule I drugs being the most addictive and Schedule V drugs being the least addictive. The drugs are also scheduled based on whether or not they have a valid medical use.
According to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, synthetic marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug due to its addictive nature, dangerous side effects, and lack of medicinal value. Other schedule I drugs include ecstasy, heroin, LSD, peyote, and methamphetamine.
How is synthetic marijuana classified under Texas state law?
The State of Texas classifies these drugs differently than the way the federal government does it. The Texas Controlled Substances Act categorizes controlled substances into six different drug penalty groups. The only controlled substance that is not assigned to one of six drug penalty groups is marijuana, which is treated differently than any other drug. The drug penalty groups under Texas law are:
- Penalty Group 1
- Penalty Group 1A
- Penalty Group 2
- Penalty Group 2A
- Penalty Group 3
- Penalty Group 4
If you are convicted of drug possession in the State of Texas, your potential penalty will depend on which penalty group applies in your case. Penalty group 1 carries the most severe penalties, while penalty group 4 has the least severe. However, a conviction for any controlled substance still has serious consequences. In fact, you could face imprisonment for the rest of your life if you are convicted of possessing a large amount of any controlled substance in the State of Texas.
Under Texas law, synthetic marijuana is categorized into drug penalty group 2A. While possessing less than four grams of the substance is a misdemeanor in Texas, you could face up to 99 years in state prison if convicted of possessing synthetic marijuana. A conviction for possessing more than 2,000 pounds of synthetic marijuana will also carry a maximum fine of up to $50,000. Penalty Group 2A does not contain any other substances, as it was created specifically for synthetic cannabinoids.
Hiring the Best Drug Possession Lawyer in Houston
If you have been arrested for possession of synthetic marijuana, waiting to hire an attorney can only hurt your chances of a successful defense. The prosecutor assigned to your case will begin working to convict you immediately, so any delay in hiring an attorney can be detrimental.
If you were arrested for possession in the Houston, Texas area, consider experienced drug possession attorney Doug Murphy. Doug Murphy has spent years defending his clients in and around Houston. He is a Board Certified expert in criminal defense law. This is an important distinction, as only a small fraction of all Texas attorneys qualify for the opportunity to take the board certification exam.
Doug Murphy is an aggressive advocate that prepares every case as if it will ultimately go to trial. This approach has paid off, as evidenced by the long list of successful outcomes he has secured for his clients. To discuss your case with an experienced Houston defense attorney, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.