A new proposed Michigan law would make it a crime to sell nitrous oxide gas to someone for the purpose of getting high. The law was introduced as a House Bill.
The actual language is sale of nitrous oxide “for the purpose of causing a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulling of the senses or nervous system.”
What is Nitrous Oxide?
Nitrous oxide is a gas that is commonly used in dental procedures and cooking items such as cool whip. Nitrous oxide itself is not illegal, as it can be purchased at grocery stores. The gasses are inhaled to produce short, euphoric highs.
Penalties for Violations of Nitrous Oxide Sales
A first-offense would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $100 fine, or both
A second-offense would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
A third-offense would be a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both.
Sale to Persons Under 18-year
The new law would also make it a civil infraction for a store owner to device that solely contains nitrous oxide to persons under the age of 18, or failure to make a diligent inquiry if the person is under 18. Diligent inquiry basically means carding the person.
It does not matter whether the nitrous oxide is being sold for the purpose of getting high – the sale to anyone under 18 is a strict liability offense. The civil infraction is a $500 fine.
The law makes exceptions for people who might regularly deal with nitrous oxide in the course of their employment, such as pharmacists, health care professionals, and caterers who may often handle nitrous oxide gas tanks.
Michigan Inhalant Law
Nitrous Oxide, as with other inhalants, is not illegal to possess. Other substances that are used as inhalants include DFE, Toluene, and Butane. While possession of these substances and nitrous oxide is not illegal, the use of the to get high is illegal.
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Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Lawyer in Ann Arbor.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.