Can I Get a DUI for Synthetic Marijuana?

Talk to any emergency room physician about synthetic marijuana and they’ll have strange stories about young people coming into their hospital acting violent and confused. While many of these individuals had positive drug tests, the degree of confusion and violence demonstrated was much greater than ER doctors anticipated.

After these patients were sedated for a few days, they began telling stories about what led them to the hospital, and these stories all involved the use of synthetic marijuana. Despite the similar name, this new designer drug is quite different from the time-tested marijuana we’re all familiar with.

Hospitals across the nation have seen a spike in patients suffering from adverse side effects of synthetic marijuana. In April of 2015, 160 people visited New York hospitals in a little over a week due to synthetic pot, and Alabama public health officials said that nearly 100 people were hospitalized due to synthetic marijuana between March and April, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Street Names Include ‘Spice’ and ‘K2’

Synthetic marijuana is known by a dozen or so street names, including “Spice” and “K2.” It can be purchased for as little as $5, and unlike drugs such as cocaine or heroin, it’s not made out of just one chemical. It can be made from as many as 100 different chemicals, mostly made in China and Pacific Rim countries and sprayed onto dried, shredded plant materials. All of the synthetic chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana are illegal to possess, use and sell in the United States.

The attraction to Spice or K2 is that it’s cheap, widely available and produces an intense high. But the fact that it’s not real marijuana is what makes unsuspecting users, many of whom are young, wrongfully believe that the drug is safe.

Adverse effects of Spice:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Kidney failure

Since there’s no antidote to synthetic marijuana, doctors can only treat the complications and hope the patient eventually makes it through their acute confused state without causing too much harm to themselves or others.

Synthetic marijuana is illegal under state and federal law; since synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants are criminalized under the federal Controlled Substances Act, an individual can be found guilty of driving under the influence of Spice. Driving under the influence of drugs (including synthetic marijuana) can be found under Section 23152(f) of the California Vehicle Code.

Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) classifies synthetic marijuana as an “emerging drug threat.” To learn more about this, scroll down this page and read the section on synthetic cannabinoids. In light of all this information, the message we’d like to leave about “K2” or “Spice” is that it can lead to incarceration, a DUI, or even death.

Arrested for a drug-related DUI? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free case evaluation with an Orange County DUI attorney!

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