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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
“Out of the Box” Defense Strategy
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Synthetic drugs provide no loopholes in Florida

A few years ago, Florida expanded its list of banned illegal substances in efforts to crack down on the prevalence of synthetic drugs. It looks like other states have begun taking notice of the assumed positive effects the expansion has had in the Sunshine State. This week the Associated Press reports that New York looks to do the same to curb instances of drugged driving incidents.

Before Florida's expansion of banned chemical substances in 2012, many drug manufacturers found a convenient loophole in the law. The law only banned certain chemical compounds found in drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin or prescription drugs.

So, manufacturers turned to developing copycat drugs using synthetic materials. These so-called "designer drugs," like K2, Spice or Mr. Nice Guy, produce the same effects as drugs that were included on Florida's list of controlled substances. As New York has found, courts could not convict those caught with these substances since they did contain any of the banned chemicals.

That changed with the passage of Florida House Bill 1175/Senate Bill 1502 in March 2012, which expanded the state's list of banned chemical compounds to include synthetic cannabinoids. The expansion included compounds used to make consumer products like potpourri, incense and bath salts, among others. Including these substances may hurt certain businesses, but it also tightens the loophole many drug manufacturers were taking advantage of.

Even with these efforts, synthetic drugs continue to be popular. While they may be more difficult to obtain locally, it is not impossible to get them from the Internet or elsewhere. However, it does present problems for those who simply want to relax, as they could fall under scrutiny when purchasing otherwise harmless substances like bath salts or incense.

If you have been accused of possession of synthetic drugs or the manufacture of illegally banned substances, you need a strong defense lawyer on your side. As a leader in drug crime prevention, Florida aggressively prosecutes alleged drug crimes. Having an experienced advocate who can dig into the evidence and protect your rights and interests is essential if you find yourself facing the full force of the law.

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