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All Forms of Synthetic Cannabis May Soon Be Illegal in Illinois

Posted on in Drug Crimes

All Forms of Synthetic Cannabis May Soon Be Illegal in IllinoisFour people in Illinois have died and several others have been hospitalized in recent weeks due to adverse reactions after consuming synthetic cannabis. The substance, branded with names such as Spice and K2, caused internal bleeding in some of the people who used it, which police suspect was because it contained rat poison. In response, the Illinois Senate quickly approved a bill that would make all forms of synthetic cannabis illegal. The Illinois House of Representatives will now take up the bill. Lawmakers hope the legislation will close a loophole that has allowed synthetic cannabis to be sold in convenience stores.

What Is Synthetic Cannabis?

Synthetic cannabis is a plant that has been sprayed with an artificial cannabinoid meant to reproduce the effect of THC in cannabis. The product can come in solid or liquid form for the purpose of being smoked. Marijuana users are attracted to the product because it:

  • Is cheaper than real marijuana;
  • Claims to give the same high as real marijuana; and
  • Is sold in stores, making it seem more legitimate.

However, synthetic cannabis can be dangerous because the formulas that manufacturers use to recreate the experience of feeling high often have not been tested for safety.

How Is Synthetic Cannabis Legal?

Illinois and other states have enacted legislation that identifies certain formulas of synthetic cannabis as being illegal substances. However, manufacturers get around the laws by changing their formulas. So, some formulas of synthetic cannabis are technically still legal. Illinois’ proposed legislation would make all forms of synthetic cannabinoids illegal, regardless of the formula.

What Is the Penalty?

A conviction for possession of illegal synthetic cannabis can result in a year in prison. A conviction for manufacturing or delivering illegal synthetic cannabis is two to five years in prison and as much as $25,000 in fines. The new law could result in more arrests for possession of synthetic cannabis. However, it would also clarify the confusion behind what are legal and illegal products. Just because a store sells a synthetic cannabis product does not mean that it is legal to possess. The same brand name can have different formulas, some of which may be listed as an illegal substance. Thus, a consumer can legally purchase synthetic cannabis without knowing that it is an illegal substance.

Defense Against Drug Charges

Defendants can contest a charge of illegal substance possession by saying that they did not knowingly possess the substance or the officer conducted an illegal search. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can defend you against harsh drug charges. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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