The efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the ongoing War on Drugs have primarily focused on illegal drug use. With criminal penalties for simple possession of even small amounts of a controlled substance having extremely damaging long-term consequences, many users have turned to other seemingly legal ways to get their “high.”
In recent years, Minnesota and several states around the country have seen a dramatic increase in the number of synthetic drugs—man-made substances with legal chemical compounds that mimic the effects of controlled substances. In response to the health hazards posed by some of these designer drugs, the Minnesota Legislature added several of the compounds in synthetic drugs to Schedule I of the controlled substance schedules, meaning that sale or possession of synthetic cannabinoids or cathinones is now a felony offense.
Lawyer for Synthetic Drug Crimes in Apple Valley, MN
If you have been charged with illegal possession or sale of a synthetic drug in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. James Blumberg Law represents clients in Hennepin County, Dakota County, Carver County, Anoka County, Washington County, Scott County, and Ramsey County.
James Blumberg is a criminal defense attorney in Apple Valley who also helps alleged offenders in Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Woodbury, Blaine, Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids, and several other surrounding communities. He can review your case and answer all of your legal questions as soon as you call (952) 431-7758 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.
Minnesota Synthetic Drug Arrest Information Center
- What are the possible penalties for criminal charges relating to synthetic marijuana?
- What are synthetic cathinones?
- Where can I find more information about synthetic drug laws?
In 2012, the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy added several synthetic cannabinoids (also called synthetic marijuana) to schedule I controlled substances under Minnesota Statute § 152.02. The additions included several chemical compounds with complex names, such as 1-Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018 and AM-678), as well as controlled substance analogues (referred to in the Minnesota Statutes as “analogs”).
The United States Department of Justice defines a controlled substance analogue as “a substance which is intended for human consumption, is structurally substantially similar to a schedule I or schedule II substance, is pharmacologically substantially similar to a schedule I or schedule II substance, or is represented as being similar to a schedule I or schedule II substance and is not an approved medication in the United States.”
If an alleged offender is arrested for possessing synthetic marijuana that is deemed a schedule I controlled substance, then he or she can be charged with a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. When a person is accused of selling a synthetic cannabinoid classified as a schedule I controlled substance, the criminal charge is a controlled substance crime in the fourth degree punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
Some of the most common forms of synthetic marijuana are advertised as being “potpourri” or “incense” that also contain warnings that the products are not for human consumption. Others purport to be herbal smoking mixtures.
A few of the most popular brand names for synthetic cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:
- Atomic Bomb;
- Black Widow;
- Bombay Blue;
- California Dreams;
- Daisy Potpourri;
- Dead Man Walking;
- Head Trip;
- King Cobra;
- Mr. Nice Guy;
- Red Magic;
- Yucatán Fire;
- Zero Gravity; and
Synthetic cathinones are substances made with unregulated research chemicals such as butylone, dimethylcathinone, ethylone, mephedrone, methedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), and pyrovalerone. Cathinones are sold in the form of a white or brown crystal-like powder that has the euphoric effects of such illegal drugs as methamphetamine, cocaine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Molly, or Ecstasy).
Like synthetic cannabinoids, possession of synthetic cathinones is a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Sale of a synthetic cathinone is a controlled substance crime in the fourth degree punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
Some of the most common synthetic cathinones include, but are not limited to:
- Bath Salts;
- Blue Silk;
- Charge Plus;
- Cloud Nine;
- Hurricane Charlie;
- Ivory Wave;
- Lunar Wave;
- Meow Meow;
- Ocean Burst;
- Ocean Snow;
- Plant food or plant fertilizer;
- Pure Ivory;
- Purple Sky;
- Purple Wave;
- Red Dove, Zoom;
- Snow Leopard;
- Vanilla Sky;
- White Lightning; and
- White Night.
Report & Recommendations | Minnesota House of Representatives — The Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs compiled this report for presentation to the House of Representatives during its 2014 regular session. The vast report includes research summaries, designer drug trends, and recommendations. You can learn more about the history of synthetic cannabinoids, a breakdown of the number of cases by county, and how manufacturers and distributors responded to Minnesota’s 2011 legislation addressing synthetic drugs.
Minnesota House of Representatives
100 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55155
United States v. James Robert Carlson — In August 2014, Jim Carlson was sentenced to 210 months (17 ½ years) in prison after a jury convicted him of conspiracy to violate the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), nine felony violations of the FDCA, eight misdemeanor violations of the FDCA, one violation of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substance Analogue Enforcement Act, nine violations of the Analogue Act, and 23 money laundering violations. The criminal charges stemmed from synthetic drugs sold at his Duluth head shop, The Last Place on Earth, and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction despite Carlson’s claim that the products he sold were legal because they did not contain the chemicals specifically banned by federal authorities. In June 2015, the United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled in McFadden v. United States that the Analogue Act requires prosecutors to prove alleged offenders knew they were dealing a controlled substance. The judgment of the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in that case was vacated and sent back to the lower courts to determine whether the failure to articulate that requirement should negate McFadden’s conviction, but state law in Minnesota does not require alleged offenders to have such knowledge of controlled substances.
Find a Lawyer for Synthetic Drug Arrests in Dakota County
Were you arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation in the Twin Cities for any kind of a synthetic cannabinoid or cathinone crime? Criminal charges for designer chemical substances can be just as serious as illegal drugs, and you should contact James Blumberg Law as soon as possible for help achieving the best possible outcome to your case.
Apple Valley criminal defense attorney James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law is a former prosecutor who defends clients in Eagan, Burnsville, Bloomington, St. Cloud, Minnetonka, Lakeville, and nearby areas. Call (952) 431-7758 or submit an online contact form right now to receive a complete evaluation of your case during a free consultation.