Government moves to ban “fake pot”

This blog will discuss the current drive by the U.S. Government and state legislatures to outlaw synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is a substance typically sold as incense under names like K2, Wicked, Spice, Gold, and Genie. The incense packaging indicates that it is not for human consumption, however, smoking this incense produces a high very similar to marijuana. This high occurs because the incense contains common non-narcotic herbs that are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids that are similar to the active ingredient in marijuana. Currently, this substance may be legally bought and sold throughout Pennsylvania but lawmakers are looking to change that.

House Bill 176 recently passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and is pending consideration in the Senate. The legislation names six cannabinoids, all similar to the active ingredient in marijuana, that are easily created in laboratories and added to non-toxic herbal blends to create fake pot. The legislation is under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee and would add fake pot to the list of controlled substances the law has determined have “high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” The new law would classify this synthetic pot as a Schedule I drug. Read the text of the addition here.

On November 24, 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration filed Notice of Intent to Temporarily control the chemicals used to create “fake pot.” This Notice of Intent is the first step in a process that allows the DEA to temporarily outlaw substances pending a final determination of their impact on society’s health and welfare. According to the DEA’s press release, fifteen states have enacted laws banning one or all of these chemicals. These bans and the current DEA concern stem from the increased calls from emergency rooms and individuals to poison control centers regarding ingestion of these chemicals.

Megan’s Law Registration Requirements and Penalties

This blog will focus on Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law, requirements, triggering offenses, and compliance violation penalties.

 

42 Pa. C.S. § 9799.1 authorizes the Pennsylvania State Police to create and maintain a state registry of offenders and sexually violent predators.  Individuals who have been convicted of a sexual offense in Pennsylvania must register with the State Police, the responsibility to initiate and maintain accurate registration information is placed upon the registrant.  The State Police are not responsible for tracking offenders down.  Failure to meet the registration requirements has serious consequences.  Pennsylvania provides criminal penalties for Sexual Offenders and Sexually Violent Predators who refuse to comply with Megan’s Law.  Sexual Offenders subject to the ten-year registration period who fail to comply with Megan’s Law commit an offense graded as a felony of the third degree up to a felony of the second degree.  Sexually Violent Predators and Sexual Offenders subject to registration for their lifetime who fail to comply with Megan’s Law commit an offense graded as a felony of the second degree up to a felony of the first degree.  The grade of offense increases with a subsequent conviction.

What does “registration” mean?

Offenders must verify their registration information at least once a year on their “anniversary date.”  Offenders must also notify the Pennsylvania State Police, in person, within 48 hours of almost any life event.  Life events that trigger in person registration include obvious events like a change of address, release from incarceration, or any change in parole or probation status.  However, registrants also must notify the State Police whenever they have a change in employment, this includes losing or quitting a job.  Any change of institution or location at which the registrant is enrolled as a student, or termination of enrollment also requires notification.  This requirement applies to individuals who move to Pennsylvania and were previously convicted in a different state.  This requirement is not excused if these changes occur as a result of a natural disaster; i.e. if you move because a tornado destroyed your house, you still need to update your address.

For more information about Megan’s Law cases and potential defenses, please review further information at the “Megan’s Law for Sex Offenders” page of our website or contact Hark & Hark directly via the website or phone.

Registration Details

10-Year Registration

Offenders convicted of the following offenses:

  • Kidnapping, where the victim is a minor (18 Pa. C.S. § 2901);
  • Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure (18 Pa. C.S. § 2910);
  • Institutional Sexual Assault (18 Pa. C.S. § 3124.2);
  • Indecent Assault where the offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree or higher (18 Pa. C.S. § 3126);
  • Incest, where the victim is 12 years of age or older but under 18 years of age (18 Pa. C.S. § 4302);
  • Prostitution and related offenses, where the actor promotes the prostitution of a minor (18 Pa. C.S. § 5902[b]);
  • Obscene and other sexual materials and performances, where the victim is a minor (18 Pa. C.S. § 5903[a] [3], [4], [5], or [6]);
  • Sexual abuse of children (18 Pa. C.S. § 6312);
  • Unlawful contact with minor (18 Pa. C.S. § 6318);
  • Sexual exploitation of children (18 Pa. C.S. § 6320);
  • Offenders convicted of an attempt to commit any of the offenses under 10-year registration or lifetime registration;
  • Offenders convicted of Criminal Solicitation or Criminal Conspiracy of any of the offenses under 10-year registration or lifetime registration;
  • Offenders convicted in jurisdictions outside the Commonwealth of an equivalent offense listed under the 10-year registration where the conviction occurred in another state, territory, Federal court, the District of Columbia, or where the offender was sentenced by court martial, or where the offender was required to register under a sexual offender statute in the jurisdiction where the offender was convicted, and the offender:
    • Resides in the Commonwealth; or
    • Is employed or carries on a vocation in the Commonwealth; or
    • Is a student in the Commonwealth.

Note: Offenders convicted in other jurisdictions are subject to a period of registration equal to that of their jurisdiction of origin. This may exceed ten years, but can be no less than ten years.

  • Offenders paroled after the effective date of the statute for any of the offenses under the 10-year registration.
  • Offenders convicted under a former law of the Commonwealth which is similar to a current Pennsylvania law which requires registration for ten years.

Lifetime Registration

Offenders convicted of the following offenses:

  • Offenders with two or more convictions of any of the offenses set forth under the 10-year registration;
  • Rape (18 Pa. C.S. § 3121);
  • Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (18 Pa. C.S. § 3123);
  • Sexual Assault (18 Pa. C.S. § 3124.1);
  • Aggravated Indecent Assault (18 Pa. C.S. § 3125);
  • Incest, where the victim is under 12 years of age (18 Pa. C.S. § 4302);
  • Offenders designated by the court as Sexually Violent Predators;
  • Offenders being released from a state or county correctional facility for any of the offenses under lifetime registration;
  • Offenders convicted in jurisdictions outside the Commonwealth of an equivalent offense listed under lifetime registration where the conviction occurred in another state, territory, Federal court, the District of Columbia, or where the offender was sentenced by court martial, or where the offender was required to register under a sexual offender statute in the jurisdiction where the offender was convicted, and the offender:
    • Resides in the Commonwealth; or
    • Is employed or carries on a vocation in the Commonwealth; or
    • Is a student in the Commonwealth.

 

  • Offenders paroled after the effective date of the statute for any of the offenses under lifetime registration.
  • Offenders convicted under a former law of the Commonwealth which is similar to a current Pennsylvania law which requires lifetime registration.

 

 


%d bloggers like this: