Taking a bath just got a little less fun.
In July of this year, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 64, which made it a crime to sell or be in possession of bath salts and the new law recently took effect in October. Bath salts are considered a synthetic recreational drug. The drugs were mostly being sold in tobacco shops and convenience stores.
The bath salts are crystallized chemicals that are typically snorted or injected to give a cocaine-like high. The salts are said to contain derivatives of Cathinone, a naturally occurring amphetamine that can be found in the shrub Catha edulis. The substances are said to cause reactions including hallucinations, paranoia, severe agitation and seizures. The baths salts have also been linked to deaths in Ohio and other states. Additionally, the American Association of Poison Control Centers have reported that the number of calls related to baths salts has risen from 303 in 2010 to more than 4,700 in the first seven months of this year.
The new law makes bath salts a Schedule I drug in Ohio and the possession of it can lead to the same penalties as possession of marijuana. A Schedule I drug is considered as having a high potential for abuse and no known medical use in the United States. Possession of bath salts can result in a minor misdemeanor or a felony for trafficking the salts in the vicinity of a school or juvenile. Possession and trafficking of bath salts falls under the normal felony penalties for a Schedule I controlled substance.
The first arrest in Ohio from the possession of bath salts just recently occurred in northeast Ohio when a woman was pulled over for a traffic stop and 200 grams of the salts were found in her vehicle. As a result of her arrest the woman could be facing felony possession charge because of the amount of bath salts that were found in her possession. The felony possession charge can result in prison time, a felony criminal record, and expensive fines.
If you find yourself facing a charge for possession of bath salts in Ohio, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbus can help you in your defense against such a serious offense. Because this ban on bath salts is fairly recent, not all individuals or retailers may know that they are facing stiff repercussions in they are found in possession of the substance.
Although you cannot use ignorance of the law as a defense, a good criminal defense attorney will help you find mitigating factors such as improper reading of your Miranda Rights, improper handling of evidence or illegal search and seizure that could potentially reduce your charges or have them dismissed.