Five Substances Added to the Controlled Substances List
May 29, 2015
Five dangerous synthetic cannabinoids have been added to Florida’s list of controlled substances. House Bill 897 passed the Florida legislature unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. It classifies the five drugs as Schedule I controlled substances, effective immediately.
Schedule I controlled substances have a high potential for abuse. There is no currently accepted legitimate medical use for these substances in the United States, and the use of these substances, even under medical supervision, does not meet safety standards.
Schedule I substances include the listed substances and any mixtures or materials containing any amount of the listed substances. With the new additions, there are currently 180 substances listed in Schedule I.
The possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, such as the five outlawed synthetic cannabis substances, is a third degree felony in Florida. Third degree felonies are punishable by:
- Imprisonment of up to five years.
- Up to five years probation.
- A fine of up to $5,000.
The possession may be either actual or constructive. Actual possession means that the substance is on the accused’s person. It also requires that the accused has physical custody of the substances, such as in a pocket. Constructive possession, in contrast, requires no physical contact. Instead, the person must have the ability to control the substance, such as having it in a sock drawer.
Unless lawfully obtained for medical purposes, possession of a controlled substance is illegal. However, there are some instances in which a person may lawfully possess a controlled substance. One major way is by using a valid prescription. However, Schedule I substances by definition do not have a legitimate medical use, and so the prescription exception does not apply to the new drugs.
If the amount of the controlled substance is twenty grams or less of cannabis, or three grams or less of synthetic cannabinoids and other Schedule I substances, then possession is a first degree misdemeanor.
Sale, Purchase, and Delivery
It is a third degree felony to sell, manufacture, deliver, or possess with intent to sell any Schedule I substance. Certain locational restrictions increase the penalty for distributing controlled substances. It is a second degree felony to sell, etc. a Schedule I substance within 1000 feet of any:
- Child care facility
- College or university
- Community center
- Public housing facility
Second degree felonies are punishable by:
- Imprisonment of up to fifteen years.
- Probation of up to fifteen years.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
The purchase of a Schedule I controlled substance is a third degree felony. Delivering a controlled substance to a minor is a second degree felony. It is also a second degree felony to hire or use a minor in conducting a sale, such as for delivery or for keeping watch. Bringing controlled substance into the state is a third degree felony.
The purchase, possession, and distribution of controlled substances is a serious crime and can have far-reaching consequences. If you have been arrested for or charged with a drug crime, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.