In The News

In The News

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Synthetic-Marijuana and Other Drugs Outlawed-By-The-Michigan Legislature

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Michael J. Nichols, Drug Crimes

It is now illegal to possess synthetic marijuana and other chemicals – even though they are not “drugs” per se.  Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law two bills that amend the Public Health Code regarding controlled substances.  A controlled substance that is categorized as a Schedule 1 controlled substance is a substance that has a higher likelihood of abuse, has no acceptable medical use in the United States, and is not accepted for treatment under medical supervision.  The new legislation on controlled substances was effective October 1, 2010.

A. What’s included?

The bills will now make it a misdemeanor to knowingly use or possess synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 and Spice. The first bill, Public Act 171 (HB 6038) was amended to include certain synthetic cannabinoids( i.e. K2), certain Ecstasy like stimulants known as N-Benzylpiperazine, or BZP and the following into the Schedule 1 category:

  • Mephradone (4-methylmethcathinone), also known as 4-MMC, M-CAT, Meow Meow, Bounce, Bubbles, and Mad Cow
  • 4-methyl-alpha-pyrrolidinobutyrophenone, also known as MPBP
  • Catha Edulis (except for Cathinone and Cathine), also known as Khat or Qat
  • Cathinone
  • Salvia Divinorum
  • Salvinorin A

Also included in the amendment is the drug Cathine, also known as D-Norpseudoephedrine which will now be categorized in Schedule 4.

B. What are the penalties?

The penalties were amended under Public Act 169 (HB 6226).  The penalties for possession and use of marihuana extend to the penalties and possession of use of the synthetic substances listed in HB 6038.

1.Penalties for Synthetic Marihuana

Under the Code, a person may not knowingly or intentionally possess a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue (substance similar in its makeup and effect to a controlled substance) unless it was obtained directly from a valid prescription or order of a practitioner while acting in the course of his or her professional practice.

Possession of a synthetic cannabinoid is misdemeanor punishable by up to one year's imprisonment, a maximum fine of $2,000, or both. In addition, the Code prohibits a person from using a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue unless it was obtained directly from a valid prescription.  A violation involving use is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days' imprisonment, a maximum fine of $100, or both.

Like other Schedule 1 controlled substances, the manufacture or sale of synthetic substances is a felony punishable up to 10 years in prison and fines.

2. Penalties for Ecstasy & BZP

Knowingly or intentionally possessing Ecstasy or an analogue of it is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.  Using Ecstasy or an analogue of it is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year's imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.

MCL 333.7212; MCL 333.7218; MCL 333.7403; MCL  7404

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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.