Drug paraphernalia laws restrict people from possessing items used to take or administer illicit drugs. Many of these items are used for other purposes, but when used for illegal purposes are not legal to own.
Take, for example, a small stirring spoon. These spoons come with gift sets and are found in many baking stores. Despite that, they, when found with scales or baggies, could result in a drug paraphernalia charge.
What are different types of drug paraphernalia?
Prohibited items used to obtain paraphernalia include items used to sell or distribute drugs, items used to mail or transport drugs and items used to transport or import paraphernalia.
Specific pieces of paraphernalia may include plastic baggies, small spoons, kitchen scales, lighters, needles or syringes, glass pipes, ceramic pipes, bongs, roach clips and freebase cocaine kits.
What happens if you’re caught with alleged drug paraphernalia that wasn’t intended for that purpose?
In some instances, items such as bongs or pipes might be legal. For example, if you use a bong specifically to smoke tobacco products and no other drug residue is present, the charge for drug paraphernalia isn’t likely to hold up in court. Likewise, if you are a chef and have a scale and spoons in your vehicle, it’s likely they weren’t for an illegal purpose.
The trouble with drug paraphernalia is that the items are usually those that you see in everyday life. Roach clips might hold a small rolled cigarette, while a chemist might have powders and glass containers intended for work, not to make drugs.
If you’re stopped and accused of possessing drug paraphernalia or are accused after giving one of the above items as a gift, know your rights. Things aren’t always as they seem, and jumping to conclusions shouldn’t endanger your future.