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Sales of Synthetic Drugs

The sales of synthetic drugs in New York are a real problem, because in some cases their usage can be even more lethal than the usage of other types of illegal drugs on the black market. Three important things to remember about synthetic drugs are: the reasons why synthetic drugs are illegal; how synthetic drugs are presented in sales; and what the New York Penal Code says about the illegality of synthetic drugs.

Synthetic drugs are illegal precisely because of their lethal nature. Synthetic drugs may be bath salts; however, according to this article from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they may also fall into a category called Spice. Spice consists of the psychoactive ingredient that is found in marijuana; however, it is a synthetic cannabinoid. Spice can be very dangerous and can force some people to have to go into the Emergency Room, because of the severe effects it can have on the body. Spice is basically known as “synthetic marijuana,” and it can also be called other names, such as Red Dawn X, Blaze, and perhaps more popularly, “K2”–according to this article from Cold Creek Behavioral Health, a rehab treatment center for alcoholism and drug addiction.

The next point of information regards how synthetic drugs are bought and sold. Unfortunately, even though synthetic marijuana can be highly harmful to humans, it is surprisingly widely available and accessible to the general public at large. “Synthetic cannabinoids popularly marketed as ‘K2’ and ‘Spice’ are widely available at gas stations and convenience stores in many states, yet addictions researchers know almost nothing about the long-term consequences of using these drugs,” according to this article by the American Psychological Association. Another issue is that there are online retailers who will sell synthetic drugs to consumers, even if the synthetic drugs are explicitly outlawed in particular states. Some retailers are clearly violating jurisdictional directives. Further, one fact that problematizes this entire issue is that it is virtually impossible for law enforcement to–in effect–enforce the law, especially if it has no knowledge of such online transactions taking place.

So, the next question then becomes, how are synthetic drugs addressed in the New York Penal Code? In the New York Penal Code, there are Schedules of Controlled Substances. In the New York Penal Code, tetrahydrocannabinols are strictly forbidden, which include “[s]ynthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the plant, or in the resinous extractives of cannabis…and/or synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar
chemical structure and pharmacological activity…” That portion of the Penal Code then goes on to list specific chemical structures that are outlawed, citing specific combinations of chemicals that are explicitly forbidden for sale or usage.

We’ve discussed why the sales of synthetic drugs are illegal in New York, how these synthetic drugs are sold on the market, and also what the New York Penal Code says about the illegality of selling synthetic drugs. It’s recommended one chooses experienced legal representation in this practice area should the need arise.