Most people are aware of penalties that people face for possessing, selling, manufacturing, or delivering a controlled substance. However, many others are surprised to learn that Florida also criminalizes the possession, sale, manufacture, or delivery of certain types of paraphernalia.
Under Florida Statute § 893.145, drug paraphernalia is defined as being “all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, transporting, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing” a controlled substance into the human body. Examples of paraphernalia listed under the statute include, but are not limited to the following examples of items that may be used, intended for use, or designed for use in certain controlled substance activities:
Kits for manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances or planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived.
Isomerization devices for increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or testing equipment for identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of, illegal drugs.
Scales and balances for weighing or measuring illegal drugs.
Diluents and adulterants for cutting illegal drugs.
Separation gins and sifters for removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining, cannabis.
Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices for compounding controlled substances.
Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers for packaging small quantities of illegal drugs or containers and other objects for storing, concealing, or transporting illegal drugs.
Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects for injecting illegal drugs into the human body.
Objects for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing cannabis, cocaine, hashish, hashish oil, or nitrous oxide into the human body, such as bongs, roach clips, various pipes, or many other types of objects.
There are multiple crimes listed under Florida Statute § 893.147 that a person may be charged with relating to paraphernalia. These include:
Use or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for any person to use or possess with intent to use paraphernalia.
Manufacture or Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a third-degree felony for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver paraphernalia.
Delivery of Drug Paraphernalia to a Minor – It is a second-degree felony for any person 18 years of age or over to deliver paraphernalia he or she knows or reasonably should know will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal an illegal drug, or inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into the human body to a person under 18 years of age. It is a first-degree misdemeanor if the alleged offender sells or otherwise delivers hypodermic syringes, needles, or other objects which may be used, are intended for use, or are designed for use in injecting substances into the human body to any person under 18 years of age.
Transportation of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a third-degree felony for any person to use, possess with the intent to use, or manufacture with the intent to use paraphernalia, knowing or under circumstances in which one reasonably should know that it will be used to transport a controlled substance or illegal contraband.
Advertisement of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for any person to place any advertisement in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication, knowing or under circumstances where one reasonably should know that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as paraphernalia.
Retail Sale of Drug Paraphernalia – It is a first-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and a third-degree felony for a second or subsequent offense if any person knowingly and willfully sells or offers for sale at retail any paraphernalia, other than a pipe that is primarily made of briar, meerschaum, clay, or corn cob.
While drug paraphernalia charges can certainly have very serious consequences, alleged offenders usually have multiple defenses in these cases. In addition to questioning the grounds on which law enforcement may have seized the alleged paraphernalia, there are often questions about who actually possessed the alleged paraphernalia and whether the paraphernalia was actually used for an illegal drug as many times these types of equipment, products, and materials can have other lawful purposes.