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Is synthetic marijuana legal in Connecticut?

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Synthetic drugs that produce long-lasting, intense marijuana-like highs are known by numerous names, including Spice or K2. The drugs are a combination of spices, herbs and chemical compounds that are smoked, eaten or made into tea. So-called fake weed gained popularity because it was once easily accessible, labeled as a "natural" substance and often couldn't be detected in drug tests.

Spice or K2 chemicals or synthetic cannabinoids are classified as Schedule I controlled substances. The toxicity of the chemical content is among the reasons the drugs are considered dangerous by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Connecticut defendants accused of possessing or trafficking Spice, K2 or their variants can face serious consequences.

Synthetic marijuana was offered for sale in retail outlets, gas stations, convenience stores and other locations, marketed as benign, legal products unfit for "human consumption," like incense. The intensity of the highs users experience with synthetic marijuana is far greater than regular cannabis. Symptoms of use may include a dangerously accelerated heart rate, hallucinations, panic episodes and, in some cases, seizures and unconsciousness.

Connecticut outlawed the sale of Spice, K2 and related products in 2012, but making the drugs disappear isn't as easy as banning them. The DEA's controlled substance list is refreshed as new synthetic cannabinoids are uncovered. Drug makers simply keep one step ahead of laws by shifting the chemical content to make new, legal products.

Defendants in synthetic marijuana cases must be charged and convicted based on laws as they are written, not as authorities wish they were written. A search and seizure that produces a shiny packet of herbs is no guarantee the product contain an illegal substance.

Criminal defense attorneys make certain a defendant's rights are protected throughout the legal process. Prosecutors must show evidence to support claims of drug possession or distribution before charges can stick. That includes making sure the evidence is classified as an illegal substance.

Source: Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, "K2 or Spice," accessed April. 07, 2015

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