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Are synthetic cannabinoids (spice) legal in Utah?

Prior to 2011, certain synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic cannabis) were legally marketed in Utah. Sold under names including "Spice" and "K2," they were ostensibly intended to be used as potpourri or as herbal incense. Because many people smoked these substances as a substitute for marijuana, they have been banned. Possession of these substances is now considered a criminal offense.

If you are facing criminal charges in Utah, it is important to have the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Based in Salt Lake City, Stephen Howard provides legal services to clients throughout Utah. His track record includes not guilty verdicts, dismissals, and appellate reversals in some of the most serious charges on the books in Utah. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.

Legalization and Criminalization of Spice and Marijuana in Utah

In 2011, the Utah state legislature enacted Utah Code Ann. 58-37-4.2, which lists a number of specific chemical compounds which are now treated as controlled substances under Utah law. For the most part, the possession, manufacture, or distribution of these substances is now treated the same as the possession, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana.

Since Utah Code Ann. 58-37-4.2 lists only specific chemicals, it is likely that creative chemists will develop other chemical compounds with similar psychoactive effects. But even chemical compounds not specifically listed in the statute may still be illegal depending on how they are used. Utah Code Ann. 76-10-107 makes it a crime to use or possess a number of specific substances or "other chemical substance capable of causing a condition of intoxication, inebriation, excitement, stupefaction, or the dulling of the brain or nervous system as a result of the inhalation of the fumes or vapors of such chemical substance" if the substance is used or possessed "for the purpose of causing a condition of inebriation, excitement, stupefication, or the dulling of the brain or nervous system."

While other surrounding states have passes legislation legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, Utah law continues to make the possession of marijuana, spice, and other similar chemicals a criminal offense. Having an experienced attorney can be critical to understanding an protecting your rights.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney in Salt Lake City

The consequences of a criminal conviction in Utah can be serious. If you are facing criminal charges for possession or use of controlled substances or other chemical substances in Utah, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference in your case.

Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation with Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Stephen Howard.


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  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Minor Possession Alcohol - MIP AttorneyDismissed - Minor in possession charge (MIP) was dismissed by prosecutor when defense analysis demonstrated that the police had failed to obtain necessary evidence against client. Police had raided a large party involving underage drinking. Several individuals were charged, but police did not obtain evidence showing that client had personally consumed or possessed alcohol. Case was dismissed.
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  • Violent Crimes Assalt Defense UtahDismissed at Preliminary Hearing - Client charged with aggravated robbery and facing life in prison. Full case analysis and consultation with client allowed the development of a strong defense strategy. Effective cross-examination of the alleged victim at the preliminary hearing resulted in an outright dismissal of all charges by the judge.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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