Earlier this month, several defendants were sentenced to federal prison as a result of the largest ever methamphetamine seizure in Michigan. The police seized about 20 pounds of pure meth stashed in hidden compartments in the defendants’ vehicle during a traffic stop in the town of Paw Paw. The meth was estimated to have a street value of half a million dollars.
The use of methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, or ice, has increased dramatically over the last decade in Michigan, particularly in the four southwestern counties of Allegan, Kalamazoo, Van Buren, and St. Joseph.
Meth is a schedule 2 substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Michigan law, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and dependence and a limited medical use. Using meth can induce a rush of euphoria, wakefulness, and physical activity, but users can soon become addicted.
Producing meth is dangerous. The process often starts with extracting ephedrine or pseudoephedrine from cold medicines and then working with an array of chemicals to create the drug. The chemicals may explode and toxic fumes leak from the labs and stick to surfaces. Hazardous waste must be disposed of after the final product is made.
The rise in the use of meth has led to new laws that focus on disrupting its manufacture by first increasing penalties for operating meth labs and by limiting the availability of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.
Here is a summary of methamphetamine laws:
As with other drug laws, there are several variables, such as prior criminal record, that will effect the sentencing guidelines and the ultimate penalty.
Methamphetamine use is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.
Methamphetamine possession is a felony. Punishment may be imprisonment for up to 10 years, a $15,000 fine, or both.
Possession of meth in a park can increase the punishment by up to two years imprisonment.
The manufacture of meth is a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, or both.
Operating or maintaining a meth lab is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.
Certain aggravating factors can increase the punishment for operating a meth lab. Operating a meth lab within 500 feet of another occupied building or in the presence of a child is a felony punishable by 20 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.
Manufacturing with toxic materials or disposing those materials is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both. A person may also be required to pay the cost of cleaning the contamination left in the lab.
Possession of lab equipment or providing lab equipment to another are felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.
The sale of meth or the possession of meth with the intent to sell is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a $25,000 fine, or both.
In addition, the sale of meth by a person over 18 to a person under 18 in a park can increase the years of imprisonment by up to 2 years.
Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine laws
Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine is present in common cold medications and is often used as the active ingredient in meth.
A person may not purchase more than 3.6 grams in one single day or purchase more than 9 grams in a 30 day period. Doing so is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Possession of more than 12 grams is a felony punishable by 2 years imprisonment, $2,000, or both.
A retailer may not sell to a person more than 3.6 grams in one single day or more than 9 grams in a 30 day period. A retailer also may not sell in a single over-the-counter sale more than 2 personal convenience packages containing 2 tablets each of any such product.
A person may not purchase ephedrine or pseudoephedrine knowing it will be used to cook meth. Doing so is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.
It is illegal to ask a person to purchase the cold medicines in order to cook meth. A violation is a 10 year felony.
Retailers must keep these products behind the counter or in a locked case. A purchaser must show valid ID and the purchaser’s name, birth date, and address must be entered into a database. A retailer may not sell this product to a minor.
A person may not sell or deliver ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to an individual if the sale is transacted through the use of the mail, internet, telephone, or other electronic means. Such a sale is a felony punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Selling ephedrine to a person under 18 years of age is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $100 fine, or both.
As with other drug laws, an individual’s driver’s license will be suspended upon conviction for certain drug crimes. Property will be subject to forfeiture following a seizure.
Sentencing options may be available for some of these meth related crimes. HYTA, 7411, and deferred sentencing may be used to keep convictions off your record, depending on the crime, age at time of conviction, and prior criminal record.Contact ArborYpsi Law at 734.883.9584 or at email@example.com to speak with attorney Sam Bernstein.