Florida Bill Targeting Synthetic Drugs

By N. Ryan LaBar | Criminal Defense Attorney
Published: 2013

Authorities in Florida and across the U.S. have expressed growing concern with the use of synthetic drugs, often called "bath salts," "spice" or "K2." In March 2012, Florida lawmakers made 142 substances used to make these drugs illegal. In December of that year, Attorney General Pam Bondi issued an emergency order outlawing 22 more chemicals. Now in 2013, Florida legislators are considering bills that would further add to the list of prohibited chemicals.

Banning More Synthetic Drugs

On March 20, 2013, the Florida House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would add 27 new substances to Florida's Schedule I of controlled substances. Schedule I substances have no accepted medicinal use and have a high potential for abuse. Other schedule I substances include heroin, LSD and ecstasy. The bill would make it a third-degree felony to "sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver" these substances.

The Senate is also currently considering a companion bill. On March 21, 2013, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill and scheduled it for hearing on the Senate floor.

Authorities believe that they need to keep outlawing substances that people use to make synthetic drugs because those who make synthetic drugs often slightly tweak the chemical compositions of their products in order for the synthetic drugs to remain legal. However, privacy advocates claim that in their quest to eradicate synthetic drugs, police trample on people's civil liberties, illegally seizing products from stores before they know whether the substances in them are illegal.

Florida Drug Penalties

People need to be aware of the ever-increasing list of illegal substances because there is a lot on the line. Penalties for convictions for drug charges in Florida can be severe. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Felony convictions also have repercussions that can linger long after a person has finished serving a prison sentence. People may have trouble finding employment or obtaining security clearances. In some cases, people with felony convictions may permanently lose the right to vote in Florida. Additionally, those with felony convictions may not own firearms.

An Experienced Drug Defense Attorney Can Help

Florida authorities are focusing more energy than ever on drugs, as the proposed legislation to outlaw more substances shows. They dedicate a great deal of time and resources to prosecuting such cases. Drug charges are serious matters, and a conviction for a drug crime can turn a person's life upside down. If you are facing drug charges, seek the assistance of an experienced drug defense attorney who can review your case to see if police violated your rights in their zealous targeting of those they believe are using or selling drugs.


Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney N. Ryan LaBar






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