Synthetic Marijuana (Cannabinoids) Lawyer

Synthetic cannabinoids (commonly referred to as synthetic marijuana) have become more popular in recent years because such designer drugs could often be legally sold as “potpourri” or “incense.” While many synthetic drugs are sold with the label of “Not for Human Consumption,” the products mimic the effect of marijuana or other illegal drugs without containing any actual controlled substances.

In most cases, synthetic cannabinoids contain no cannabis but are instead foliage herb bases such as lemongrass or hops that have been sprayed with psychoactive chemicals. Federal and state agencies routinely add these chemical compounds to the lists of prohibited controlled substances, but the chemists are always one step ahead and simply respond to new prohibitions by creating new chemicals by making only a few minor tweaks in the chemical’s formula.

In many ways, prohibition of synthetic cannabinoids increases the possible dangers that users are exposed to because suppliers continually create new and stronger chemicals in response to old chemicals becoming illegal. Many marijuana users turn to synthetic cannabinoids to avoid the consequences of drug testing.

Attorney for Synthetic Cannabinoids Defense in Raleigh, NC

If you were arrested for a synthetic cannabinoid crime anywhere in the Research Triangle area, you should avoid making any statement to authorities until you have legal counsel. Contact Coolidge Law Firm as soon as possible.

David Coolidge is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Raleigh who represents clients accused of marijuana crimes in Garner, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Knightdale, and many other communities throughout Wake County. Call to have our attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.

(919) 239-8448


Overview of Synthetic Cannabinoids in Wake County


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Synthetic Cannabinoids Possession Penalties in North Carolina

Synthetic marijuana is sold under many different brand names, some of which may be profane. A few of the most common brands of synthetic cannabinoids include, but are not limited to:

  • K2
  • Dream
  • Spice
  • Zoom
  • Yucatán Fire
  • Kronic
  • Voodoo
  • Nice Guy
  • Head Trip
  • Hysteria
  • Journey
  • 8-Ball
  • XXX
  • Ultra

Synthetic cannabinoids are classified based on their base structures. Common cannabinoid families include HU-210, HU-211, JWH-018, and JWH-073.

North Carolina General Statute § 90-95(d)(4) stipulates that if a possession of a controlled substance offense involves any quantity of synthetic THC isolated from the resin of marijuana, the crime is a Class I felony.

North Carolina uses a “structured sentencing” method of punishing convicted criminals. Sentences for alleged offenders are determined by the severity of the criminal offense combined with the offender’s prior criminal record. .

Depending on the level of felony an alleged offender has been charged with, a conviction can result in one of three kinds of punishments: an active punishment is a sentence that requires a person to be incarcerated in the state prison system, an intermediate punishment is a sentence of supervised probation that may include other possible conditions such as a short period of incarceration or house arrest, and a community punishment is any sentence other than an active or intermediate punishment.

An alleged offender is also assigned one of six prior record levels based on offenses in that person’s criminal records. Sentence ranges on the felony punishment chart are further staggered into three possible ranges: an aggravated range applies to cases with more aggravating factors, a mitigated range applies to cases with more mitigating factors, and a presumptive range is used for cases with an equal amount of or no mitigating factors and aggravating factors.

Possession of a synthetic cannabinoid is punishable as follows: (FIX THE CHART SO THAT IT FITS CORRECTLY !!!!)

  Prior Record Level I

(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II

(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III

(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV

(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V

(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI

(18+ points)

Class I Community Community or Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active
Aggravated 6-8 months 6-8 months 6-8 months 8-10 months 9-11 months 10-12 months
Presumptive 4-6 months 4-6 months 5-6 months 6-8 months 7-9 months 8-10 months
Mitigated 3-4 months 3-4 months 4-5 months 4-6 months 5-7 months 6-8 months

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Trafficking in Synthetic Cannabinoids Penalties

North Carolina General Statute § 90-95(h)(1a) establishes that any person who sells, manufactures, delivers, transports, or possesses in excess of 50 dosage units of a synthetic cannabinoid or any mixture containing such substance commits the felony offense of trafficking in synthetic cannabinoids. A dosage unit is defined as 3 grams of synthetic cannabinoid or any mixture containing such substance.

Under this statute, trafficking in synthetic cannabinoids convictions are punishable as follows:

  • More than 50 dosage units, but less than 250 dosage units — Class H felony;
  • 250 dosage units or more, but less than 1,250 dosage units — Class G felony;
  • 1,250 dosage units or more, but less than 3,750 dosage units — Class F felony; and
  • 3,750 dosage units or more — Class D felony. 

Under North Carolina’s structured sentencing, convictions for the above offenses are punishable as follows:

  Prior Record Level I

(0-1 point)

Prior Record Level II

(2-5 points)

Prior Record Level III

(6-9 points)

Prior Record Level IV

(10-13 points)

Prior Record Level V

(14-17 points)

Prior Record Level VI

(18+ points)

Class D Active Active Active Active Active Active
Aggravated 64-80 months 73-92 months 84-105 months 97-121 months 111-139 months 128-160 months
Presumptive 51-64 months 59-73 months 67-84 months 78-97 months 89-111 months 103-128 months
Mitigated 38-51 months 44-59 months 51-67 months 58-78 months 67-89 months 77-103 months
Class F Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Active Active Active
Aggravated 16-20 months 19-23 months 21-27 months 25-31 months 28-36 months 33-41 months
Presumptive 13-16 months 15-19 months 17-21 months 20-25 months 23-28 months 26-33 months
Mitigated 10-13 months 11-15 months 13-17 months 15-20 months 17-23 months 20-26 months
Class G Active Active Active Active Active Active
Aggravated 13-16 months 14-18 months 17-21 months 19-24 months 22-27 months 25-31 months
Presumptive 10-13 months 12-14 months 13-17 months 15-19 months 17-22 months 20-25 months
Mitigated 8-10 months 9-12 months 10-13 months 11-15 months 13-17 months 15-20 months
Class H Community, Intermediate, or Active Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Intermediate or Active Active
Aggravated 6-8 months 8-10 months 10-12 months 11-14 months 15-19 months 20-25 months
Presumptive 5-6 months 6-8 months 8-10 months 9-11 months 12-15 months 16-20 months
Mitigated 4-5 months 4-6 months 6-8 months 7-9 months 9-12 months 12-16 months 

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North Carolina Synthetic Cannabinoid Resources

Synthetic Cannabinoids | CLE Article from the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) Drug Seminar — View the full text of an article presented during a drug seminar sponsored by the TCDLA in 2014. The article discusses the history, manufacture, and sale of synthetic cannabinoids. You can also learn about many of the chemicals involved, including Huffman chemicals (JWH-001, JWH-450, etc.), Hebrew University chemicals (HU-210, HU-239, etc.), and Makriyannis chemicals (AM-694, AM-2201, etc.).

DrugFacts: Synthetic Cannabinoids (K2/Spice) | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — The mission of NIDA is “to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.” Visit this section of the NIDA website to learn more about synthetic cannabinoids. You can find information about effects on the brain and other health effects.


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Speak to a Synthetic Cannabinoids Defense Lawyer

Were you arrested for a synthetic cannabinoid crime in the Research Triangle? Coolidge Law Firm represents individuals in Morrisville, Wendell, Zebulon, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Rolesville, and many surrounding areas of Wake County.

Raleigh criminal defense attorney David Coolidge represents students at such local colleges as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), William Peace University, North Carolina State University (NCSU), Shaw University, Duke University, and Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech). Call (919) 239-8448 or complete the contact form below to have our attorney provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.

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