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Can I get arrested for buying synthetic drugs?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Both the federal government and the state of South Carolina have relatively comprehensive lists of controlled or prohibited substances. Some of the compounds included in the schedule of controlled substances continue to have demand despite their illegality.

As a result, chemists and entrepreneurs alike have historically sought to find ways around drug prohibitions in order to profit off of that ongoing demand. The creation of synthetic drugs like herbal incense and bath salts, for example, is constantly shifting in order to meet consumer demands.

Many people believe that synthetic drugs, especially those available for purchase either in retail stores or on a website, are legal while their scheduled counterpart is illegal. Could you wind up charged for the possession of a synthetic drug in South Carolina?

South Carolina continues to expand its prohibition policies

When synthetic drugs first rose to cultural prominence in the late 2000s and early 2010s, it was a wild west marketplace with no federal or state regulation. Companies marketed their products as perfectly legal and labeled them as “not for human consumption” to avoid any criminal implications for their businesses.

This allowed the companies manufacturing the products to avoid liability and gave retailers an excuse to carry products labeled as watch cleaners, incense or plant feeders openly in their businesses. However, both state and federal law enforcement agencies became aware of this practice and began investigating specific chemical compounds.

Many active compounds used in synthetic drugs are now subject to bans. In fact, South Carolina lawmakers are looking to expand the prohibited list of synthetic drugs again. Given the lack of transparent labeling with synthetic drugs, there is almost no way for a consumer to know whether the product they purchased has one of the many banned substances in it or not.

If you get caught in possession of synthetic drugs, you could wind up facing serious drug charges. If that happens, make sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.