What is Considered 'Drug Paraphernalia' Under Florida Law?
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Mellouli v. Lynch that a sock cannot be considered drug paraphernalia. (The case involved a man who had stuffed four pills inside of a sock, and was convicted of possessing drug paraphernalia, on the grounds that the sock constituted paraphernalia.) That ruling has led to significant discussion over what the legal definition for paraphernalia actually is.
The state of Florida has a definition of drug paraphernalia, but the definition is rather expansive. Under Florida Statute 893.145, the term “drug paraphernalia” includes the following, although this list is not exhaustive:
- Kits used, intended to use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant which is a controlled substance (or from which controlled substance can be derived);
- Kits used, intended to use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;
- Isomerization devices;
- Scales and balances;
- Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons and mixing devices;
- Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers; and
- Much more.
Plus, the statute makes it clear that even items that are not listed in the definition can still be considered drug paraphernalia.
If you’re wondering how the authorities would differentiate between, say, a regular blender, and a blender that is “used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances,” there’s a statute that discusses this, as well.
Florida Statute 893.146 lists factors that may be considered by courts and other judicial authorities when determining whether an object is drug paraphernalia. These include:
- Statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object;
- The proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this act;
- The proximity of the object to controlled substances;
- The existence of any residue of controlled substances on the object;
- Instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
- Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use;
- Any advertising concerning its use;
- The manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
- Whether the owner, or anyone in control of the object, is a legitimate supplier;
- Expert testimony concerning its use; and
- Other factors relevant to the case.
The main takeaway here is that a wide array of items can be legally regarded as drug paraphernalia. If you have been charged with violating a drug paraphernalia statute, your best chance at avoiding a conviction is to have an experienced attorney on your side. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Mark S. Lowry can help you understand the charges against you and advise you on the best course of action.