Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine, meth, LSD, and other drugs, and have seen an increase in use during the past several years. These imitation drugs are manufactured in underground laboratories and sold in convenience stores, smoke shops, and even adult bookstores. They go by names like “K-2”, “Vanilla Sky,” “Tranquility,” and produce feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, and disorientation among others.
Many states have recently adopted legislation banning synthetic drugs. While Nevada has no such legislation currently, synthetic drugs were banned by the Nevada Pharmacy Board under an order earlier this year. President Obama has also signed a law banning synthetic bath salts in July of this year. This federal law bans currently identified bath salt compounds and similar compounds that produce the same effects. It also covers both online and interstate sale of the listed synthetic drugs.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration have also taken part in a nationwide, 109 city, federal crackdown of synthetic drugs known as “Operation Log Jam.” Over 90 people were arrested and millions of packets of synthetic drugs were seized in total during the nationwide bust. This unified operation by several law enforcement agencies shows a concerted effort to penalize users, manufacturers, and traffickers of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones.
There are consequences to synthetic drug crimes in Nevada. NRS 453.2043 defines a controlled substance analog as a substance that has a similar chemical structure to Schedule I and Schedule II drugs. Other drugs within these schedules include Methamphetamine, PCP, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin. The synthetic drugs act as stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and depressants or are represented to have these effects.
The Nevada State Board of Pharmacy determines the synthetic drugs that are considered illegal under the scheduling. Synthetic drugs that fall under the Nevada state ban are treated as schedule I substances. If convicted, a person has the potential to face severe penalties. For example, possessing a synthetic drug in Nevada can result in a Category E felony for a first time offense, punishable by up to 4 years in prison and / or a fine of $4,000. Selling or manufacturing synthetic drugs in Nevada can lead to a category B felony for a first offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison and / or up to $20,000 in fines.
A person arrested for charges related to synthetic drugs should remain extra aware of their legal options. Just because a drug charge involves synthetic drugs rather than their other illegal counterparts does not mean a charge will be taken lightly by prosecutors. In fact, given the recent nature of the synthetic drug bans, it is in the best interests of a person to consult with a criminal lawyer in Las Vegas who understands state and federal drug laws in light of the recent synthetic drug bans.
This video was recently released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and discusses synthetic drugs uses and side effects: