With the opening of medical cannabis shops, vape stores, and other modern smoke shops, it can be difficult to understand the laws of drug paraphernalia. The waters become muddied when we consider that bongs are legally sold at CBD shops, so will you face potential issues if you legally purchase a bong, pipe, or novelty item legally at a vape or CBD shop? Will you be traversing legal terrain if you have a water pipe in your home or vehicle, even if gained by completely legal means?
If you have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, you should contact a drug defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm as soon as possible. Drug charges may seem confusing, but legal counsel will help you understand the charges and will provide you with the best defense possible.
According to Florida Statutes, drug paraphernalia is defined as “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance . . .”
So how can vape shops and CBD dispensaries sell these items legally? Because technically, vape shops are not selling drug paraphernalia. They are selling water pipes, glass tobacco, and novelty pipes, and the items don’t technically become drug paraphernalia after people leave the store and employ them in an illegal manner. For this reason, drug paraphernalia charges typically are added when there are drug possession charges — because it is easier to prove that a pipe purchased at a novelty shop is being used for illegal reasons if the illegal substance is nearby.
Possession or use of drug paraphernalia is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, and is punishable by law with penalties that may include up to 365 days in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine.
There are several possible defenses to drug paraphernalia charges. Typically, these charges will be accompanied by other drug-related charges, however you may be able to prove that the items in question were not being used, nor intended to be used, for illegal activity.
Another defense your attorney may discuss with you is the legality of the police search and seizure. If the officer did not have a warrant signed by a judge, the search and seizure may not have been lawful.
Do not attempt to handle drug charges alone. Any delay in hiring a drug defense lawyer in Tampa immediately upon being accused or arrested is a big mistake. A free consultation with Anthony Rickman is just a phone call away.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.