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Colorado conspirator allegedly stored ‘spice’ in rental units

Colorado's marijuana laws policies are among the most advanced in the country, but the state clearly draws the line at synthetic marijuana. Unfamiliarity with the laws' boundaries can get you in trouble. Although the names are similar, marijuana and synthetic marijuana are treated differently under state laws.

Possession and distribution of synthetic marijuana, also known as synthetic cannabinoid or "spice," is illegal. Chemicals added to heighten the user's high can produce dangerous results. More than 200 people in Colorado became ill last year from a bad batch of spice, which has been sold under a variety of brand names.

Aurora authorities recently filed charges against a 54-year-old man they believe headed a spice drug trafficking conspiracy. The defendant was accused of distributing 720 spice packets under the name "Funky Monkey." Police said more than 1,200 additional packets under that brand and other names were confiscated from storage units rented under the defendant's name.

The defendant faces charges including possession of synthetic marijuana with intent to distribute and conspiracy. Investigators said the defendant used the drug sales as his work income and led the conspiracy. If proven to be true, the allegations could increase penalties the defendant would pay upon sentencing.

Article 18 Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution sets conditions for the legal adult use and sales of recreational marijuana, which began in January. Artificial marijuana possession, manufacturing, cultivation, distribution or sales is illegal, under Colorado statute 18:18-102. Potential punishments include jail or prison time, substantial fines and possible forfeiture of personal assets.

A court does not accept a defendant's ignorance of drug laws as an excuse for breaking them. A criminal defense attorney can clear up any uncertainties you have about state or federal drug laws. If you have been charged with drug offenses, the first step is to understand the charges you face before devising a defense strategy to fight them.

Source: 7 News Denver, "'Spice' suspect allegedly directed a conspiracy to distribute the drug; possessed a huge amount" Lance Hernandez and Phil Tenser, Mar. 27, 2014

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