Synthetic marijuana, more commonly known as K2 or Spice in Michigan, has become a cause for concern among the Michigan legislature and state and local police forces. Last Tuesday, the Michigan Senate approved several measures to make the possession, distribution, or sale of the substance illegal while allowing the Michigan Department of Community Health to impose a temporary ban on new substances deemed an imminent danger to people's health. Macomb County, the city of Detroit, and numerous other metro-Detroit governments have already enacted similar measures. The bills will now make their way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk where, upon his signature, the new laws will take effect statewide beginning July 1.
The drug's aim is to mimic the effects of marijuana. This is done through a chemical sprayed on plant-like materials and then smoked by an individual. However, the effect of smoking the drug has resulted in several fatal incidents in the metro-Detroit area. In Oakland County, the drug has been linked to the cause of a deadly overdose of an 18-year-old in Bloomfield Hills and a shooting death of a 17-year-old in West Bloomfield.
Once signed by Governor Snyder, penalties for possession or selling the drug could be up to a $5,000 fine, three years in jail or both. Currently, many southeast-Detroit cities and townships have their own penalties in place including in Macomb County where those caught violating the ban on synthetic marijuana can expect to face up to a $200 fine, six months in jail or both. The new laws and penalties are meant to prevent drug manufacturers from avoiding violating these already existing local laws and ordinances. By slightly altering the chemical compound sprayed on the plant-like materials, manufacturers have been able to evade current state law that attempts to prohibit the sale and use of synthetic marijuana.
Because of the complexities that can be involved in any drug case, it is important for people to understand and know their legal rights. Synthetic marijuana is being treated as a dangerous drug that can lead to potential jail time if caught and charged under current and future laws. A Detroit criminal defense lawyer can help you act accordingly and prepare a legal defense to preserve and protect your rights.