Putnam County detectives conducted the first major synthetic marijuana bust on the First Coast since the increasingly popular drug was banned in Florida as of July 1.
Narcotics detectives confiscated 2,500 packets of synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, at 10 different stores, according to a report by News4Jax.com. Police did not make any arrests during the busts, instead saying this was part of the educational phase to get the product off the shelves and inform businesses that it is now illegal. The new law makes it a felony to sell the synthetic marijuana, which is often marketed as potpourri or incense. It is a Jacksonville third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Possession of synthetic marijuana is a misdemeanor, similar to possession of traditional marijuana.
There have been other raids across the state, but none that have been reported in Clay County, Duval County, Nassau County or St. Johns County. Those are likely on the way. The Putnam approach is fairly typically when a new law is first on the books. Police tend to begin with an educational campaign to make sure all of the businesses know the law and how it will be enforced. And while it seems fair and a nice gesture by authorities, what they are doing is building a record if they need it for court down the road. A judge may balk at charges if a slew of business owners are hauled into court shortly after a new law is enacted. The business owner could claim ignorance and, though that is not a defense, it may seem reasonable to the judge. But, if police can show a pattern, such as the business being raided and warned several times before the manager or owner is arrested on Florida drug charges, the charges are much more likely to stick.
This is a standard police procedure, even for laws that have been on the books for decades. For example, undercover narcotics detectives will often go back to the same street drug dealer three or four times and buy drugs before eventually arresting him or her on Jacksonville Drug Sale Charges. The result will be three or four Duval Drug Charges stacked on the same defendant. That way, if there are issues with a case in terms of a recording or some of the evidence, there are other cases to fall back on. Once the synthetic marijuana laws have been around for a few more months, expect to see police getting more aggressive in enforcement. Our Jacksonville Drug Crimes Attorney has studied the new law and will be keeping a close eye on how police react to it in Clay County, Duval County, Nassau County and St. Johns County.
If you or a loved one needs a Drug Crimes Attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County drug crimes attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.