The reality of synthetic drugs is that, all too often, lawmakers and law enforcement are a step slow on making a substance illegal. Just as soon as one substance is outlawed, the chemistry of a synthetic drug would be tweaked in such a way that a new drug must then be added to Florida’s list of controlled substances.
The Florida legislature is aiming to put an end to this constantly shifting landscape of legality by changing Florida’s definition of illegal drugs.
New Changes to Florida’s Definition of Illegal Drugs
Under the new Florida law, prosecutors will not need to wait for medical research that proves the effects of every new synthetic substance before the synthetic drug may be added to the state’s list of illegal controlled substances. The law, which took effect on July 1st, comprehensively rewrote Florida’s controlled substances act, defining illegal drugs by their molecular structure.
As a result, it is now far easier for law enforcement and prosecutors to prove that a synthetic substance is “substantially similar” to drugs that are already illegal under Florida law. The new law also stresses that small deviations in a substance’s chemistry is not enough to make the “new” synthetic drug legal.
Lawmakers and medical professionals both hope these changes will deter the use of synthetic drugs since Florida communities are already seeing a surge in synthetic drug overdoses. Specifically, synthetic marijuana overdoses have skyrocketed in recent months.
These legal changes could not have come at a better time for Floridians who worry about the dangers of synthetic drugs. The popular synthetic drug “Spice” — a form of synthetic marijuana — should be easier to combat with the new law. Since drug dealers can no longer change Spice’s chemistry to avoid charges, the game of cat and mouse may finally be over.
So long as the premise of the synthetic drug is designed to function like synthetic marijuana, these types of drugs will now be considered illegal. If you have been charged with dealing synthetic drugs on the basis of Florida’s latest changes to its drug laws, Destin criminal defense attorney John F. Greene is ready to help.
John F. Greene represents clients who have been charged with committing a synthetic drug offense that is found to violate Florida law. From his Destin office, he defends Destin drug defendants and defendants throughout Northwest Florida and the Emerald Coast, including Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Bay Counties. Additionally, he represents anyone charged with a Florida drug offense in the Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Panama City communities.