Drug Crimes

In The News

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


By Michael Nichols
Categories: Drug Crimes

Synthetic or imitation controlled substances are those substances that mimic illegal street drugs such as marijuana or methamphetamine. Synthetic or imitation controlled substances have been in the news recently. The substances have been blamed for a violent cannibalistic murder in Florida and have also been tied to several deaths here in Michigan. 

The substances that mimic marijuana are commonly sold as incense and are labeled “not for human consumption”. The substances go by trade names such as “K2, “Spice”, “Yucatan Fire” or “LOL”. The substances that mimic methamphetamines are sold as bath salts and are also labeled “not for human consumption” and go by trade names like “Ivory Wave”, “Vanilla Sky” or “Bliss”.

Users purchase the substances at convenience stores, smoke shops or online. The substances are then smoked, made into tea or snorted depending on the substance. The effects are allegedly similar to those of the substances that they mimic. Many efforts have been made to criminalize the possession or sale of these substances, but the manufactures routinely alter or manipulate the chemical composition of the substances to side-step any efforts made to include the products within the controlled substance act. 

This might all change here in Michigan with the introduction of House Bill 5338 which if approved will amend MCL 333.2251 and MCL 333.7341. HB 5338 would allow the
Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health to classify or reschedule imitation controlled substances as controlled substances if they present an imminent danger to the health or lives of individuals in the state of Michigan. The director would be allowed to promulgate new administrative rules that would classify new imitation controlled substances as a controlled substance without the need for legislative approval.  

According to the proposed bill, the factors the director would use to determine if a substance is an imitation controlled substance would include:

1) Was the substance approved by the Food and Drug Administration?

2) Statements made by the owner of the substance

3) Is it packaged like a controlled substance?

4) Does the owner of the substance have prior convictions
for fraud or drug possession?

5) Was the substance found in close proximity to a controlled

6) Does the substance cost more than it should considering
its chemical composition?

7) Any express or implied representation as a controlled

8) Is the name of the substance similar to a controlled

9) Does it look like a controlled substance?

If this bill passes both houses and becomes law, those who use or sell imitation controlled substances would need to stay informed regarding any possible changes to the schedule of controlled substances via director determination. If you have been charged with using or possessing an imitation controlled substance, incense or bath salts you need an attorney who understands the chemical composition of the substance as well as any legislation or administrative rules that govern that substance. Call the Nichols law Firm
today (517) 432-9000 or email Jcovert@nicholslaw.net  


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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.