Florida Bans Bath Salts Containing Drug Similar To Cocaine: Melbourne Criminal Defense Attorney Discusses the Potential Drug Offenses and Punishments Associated With MDPV

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As Florida cracks down on a synthetic version of the stimulant MDPV, also known as “Vanilla Sky,” “Ivory Wave” and “White Rush,” which was legally sold as bath salts in stores across the state, attorney Mark S. Germain examines the punishments for selling and possessing the newly banned drug.

Now that the ban is imposed, those who sell bath salts containing MDPV in their stores can be charged with ... felonies under Florida law, warns drug defense attorney Mark S. Germain.

Florida’s Attorney General prohibited the use of bath salts containing the substance, methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, in stores across Florida late January. The bath salts are often used as a stimulant that creates a high similar to the effects of cocaine or methamphetamines, and are equally as addictive.

This Florida ban comes after stories of abuse circulated throughout southern states, primarily in Florida and Louisiana. Louisiana first banned the bath salts at the beginning of January, and Florida poison control centers report they have received about 60 calls with accounts of people abusing the salts, and using them in human consumption by either snorting, eating or smoking the salts.

The bath salts are often sold for about $45 per half a gram, and are believed to be sold strictly for drug abuse. Bath salts are a new designer drug, and are commonly made of synthetic materials. They are often created in laboratories and are difficult to test for due to their new chemical makeup.

According to Mark S. Germain, Melbourne drug defense attorney, “Now that the ban is imposed, those who sell bath salts containing MDPV in their stores can be charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to sell, manufacturing or distribution and drug trafficking, which are felonies under Florida law.”

After the ban was enacted, stores were given notice of the ban, and a two week grace period to remove the bath salts from their inventory. If sellers failed to remove the bath salts, they could be charged and punished for various drug crimes in Florida. The ban will stay in effect in Florida for 90 days, after which the state legislature plans to enact a law permanently banning the substance.

“The people running these stores can be charged under Florida law even if they are unaware what drug they are selling, as long as they know the bath salts are an illicit item,” advises Mark S. Germain, Florida drug possession attorney.

Under the temporary ban, possession of a controlled substance or distribution of a controlled substance is a third degree felony, and punishable by jail time and fines. “Penalties for third degree drug offenses can lead to five years in prison and fines up to $5,000.00,” Mark S. Germain states.

However, once the ban of bath salts becomes permanent, the Florida attorney general hopes to classify MDPV as a schedule one controlled substance, which would put MDPV in the same category as heroin or cocaine.

Melbourne controlled substance defense attorney, Mark S. Germain, warns, “If this drug becomes a Schedule One Controlled Substance, punishments increase, and can include up to 15 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000.”

Side effects of MDPV in the form of bath salts often include increased heart rate, nose bleeds, severe hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, psychosis, feelings of superhuman strength, extreme violence and kidney failure. MDPV is a synthetic version of cathinone, a compound found in the khat plant, which is native to Africa. Its leaves are chewed to produce a high similar to that of the coca plant in South America.

As reported by Alexia Campbell and Aaron Deslatte in the Sun Sentinel on January 27, 2011, MDPV has caused such severe reactions that one woman attacked her mother with a machete after she had taken bath salts, and another man nearly ripped apart the back seat of a police vehicle with his teeth after several officers tried to subdue him while he was high on bath salts.

Mark S. Germain, Brevard County criminal defense attorney, advises “It’s very important to hire an attorney if you have been charged with possessing or distributing a controlled substance like bath salts in Florida. If convicted, these offenses carry harsh penalties that can follow you the rest of your life.”

Mark S. Germain, of the Law Offices of Germain & Coulter, represents those accused of drug offenses in Eastern and Central Florida, including Brevard County, Orange County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Indian River County and Osceola County.

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