California Health and Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC: Selling Synthetic Cannabinoids

synthetic cannabinoids sale1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

In recent years, there has been an increased demand for synthetic marijuana products. These products claim to provide the same effects as marijuana but do not show up on drug tests. The problem with synthetic marijuana, also known as Spice and K2, is that the quality of the drug is completely unknown and these synthetics have caused serious injury and even death to users. As a result, selling synthetic cannabinoids is against the law under California Health & Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC, and conviction can carry serious criminal penalties.

In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of selling a synthetic cannabinoid, a prosecutor must be able to prove the following elements:

  1. The defendant sold, dispensed, distributed, furnished, administered, or gave, or offered to sell dispense, distribute, furnish, administer, or give, any synthetic cannabinoid compound, or any synthetic cannabinoid derivative to any person.

  2. OR the defendant possessed for sale any synthetic cannabinoid compound, or any synthetic cannabinoid derivative.

As used in the statute, a synthetic cannabinoid compound includes the following chemical substances:

  1. 1-pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-018).
  2. 1-butyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-073).
  3. 1-A2-4(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole (JWH-200).
  4. 5-(1,10dimethylheptyl)-2-A(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-phenol (CP-47,497).
  5. 5-(1,1-dimethyloctyl)-2-A(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexl]-phenol (cannabicyclohexanol; CP-47, 497 C8 homologue)
2. Related Offenses

Similar offenses include the following:

  1. Selling synthetic stimulant compounds – California Health & Safety Code Section 11375.5 HSC
  2. Possession of Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11357 HSC
  3. Possession of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11350 HSC
  4. Possession for Sale of Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11359 HSC
  5. Selling Marijuana – California Health & Safety Code Section 11360 HSC
  6. Sale of Substitute Substance – California Health & Safety Code Section 11355 HSC
3. Examples

A man runs a convenience store that sells synthetic cannabis products. The man labels the product as incense and they are very popular. This man could be charged with selling synthetic cannabinoids in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC. Until recently, synthetic marijuana was widely available in head shops and other stores, however the California legislature has now made it illegal to sell these products.

In another example, a man who operates a head shop offers a brand new synthetic marijuana product. The substance has the same effects as marijuana if smoked, however it is not one of the chemical compounds included in the statute. The man would not be guilty of selling a synthetic cannabinoid in this example because the substance is not specifically listed in California Health & Safety Code Section 11357.5 HSC.

4. Defenses to Selling Synthetic Cannabinoids

As described above, if the synthetic marijuana did not have a chemical compound listed in the statute, the defendant would not be guilty of this offense. Because new synthetic cannabis products are constantly being created, the legislature is often playing catch up to make sure these substances are covered under the law. New items are frequently added to this statute, so just because it is legal to sell a certain synthetic product today, it may soon be outlawed.

There may be instances where law enforcement agencies use sting operations to try and catch those selling synthetic marijuana products. If the undercover operative was too aggressive in their attempts to get the defendant to sell a synthetic cannabinoid, the defendant may be able to raise a strong entrapment defense.

5. Penalties

Selling synthetic cannabinoids is a misdemeanor level offense. Those convicted can be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail in addition to a $1,000 court fine.

6. Criminal Defense for Selling Synthetic Cannabinoids

If you have been accused of selling synthetic cannabinoids, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively challenge drug crimes like this. Mr. Kraut is widely respected by prosecutors, judges and those within the law enforcement community as a tough advocate who fights diligently on behalf of his clients. Mr. Kraut works with investigators and expert witnesses to make sure his clients receive the absolute best defense possible.

For more information about selling synthetic cannabinoids, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Featured on CNN
ABC News
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
CBS News
The New York Times
Us Weekly
Entertainment Tonight
Good Morning America
Legal Broadcast Network
Avvo Rating 10.0
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.