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Louisiana’s New Synthetic Marijuana Law: An Analysis

Posted on by Townsend Myers

The new synthetic cannabis law

Certain forms of synthetic marijuana, many sold over-the-counter in convenience stores and head shops with names like “Mojo,” “Spice,” “K2″ and “Voodoo,” have been illegal in Louisiana since August 15, 2010.


Simple possession of the synthetic marijuana can result in a fine of up to $500, 6 months in jail or both for a first conviction; up to a $2,000 fine, a maximum of 5 years in prison or both for a second conviction; and up to a $5,000 fine, 20 years in jail or both for subsequent convictions.

Conviction for possession with the intent to distribute the synthetic marijuana can result in a fine of up to $50,000 and from 5 to 30 years in jail.

The new law also makes it a crime to possess or use certain listed prohibited plant substances to create the synthetic marijuana. Those convicted of possessing the prohibited plant substances can face up to 6 months in prison, be fined up to $500, or both. Individuals convicted of knowingly using the prohibited plant substances to make synthetic marijuana products can face up to 5 years in jail or be fined up to $10,000.

What is synthetic marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana is a herbal and chemical product which mimics the effects of natural marijuana when smoked. It is produced by combining legal plant materials with chemicals (aka, synthetic cannabinoids) designed specifically to produce marijuana-like effects on the human brain. There are a variety of synthetic chemicals that have been developed to mimic the effects of cannabis. They all have lengthy chemical names, but also go by abreviated names like JWH-018, CP 47,497 and HU-210. Both the plant materials and the synthetic cannabinoids had been legal and unregulated until recently.

What does the new law ban?

Beginning on August 15, 2010, Louisiana made the following synthetic cannabinoids illegal:

  • 2-[(1R,3S)-3-hydroxycyclohexyl]-5-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)phenol {also known as CP 47,497 and its C6, C7, C8, and C9 homologues}
  • (6aR,10aR)-9-(hydroxymethyl)-6,6-dimethyl-3-(2-methyloctan-2-yl)- 6a,7,10,10a-tetrahydrobenzo [c]chromen-1-ol {also known as HU-210}
  • Naphthalen-1-yl-(1-pentylindol-3-yl)methanone {also known as 1- Pentyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indole or JWH-018}
  • Naphthalen-1-yl-(1-butylindol-3-yl)methanone {also known as 1-Butyl- 3-(1-naphthoyl)indole or JWH-073}

The law also bans the possession or sale of any of a long list of prohibited plant substances when they are prepared in such a way as to be snorted, smoked or burned in any way (see the list in the attached link to the new law).

What is not banned by the new law?

Most, if not all of the existing potpourri and incense products sold to date contain at least one of the banned synthetic cannabinoids. Thus, as constituted, they are all now illegal in Louisiana. However, there is a veritable slew of synthetic cannabinoids of various names and compounds on the market that are NOT banned by the new law. While the four compounds banned by the new Louisiana law appear to be the four most potent varieties, there are others out there. And, so long as none of the four listed cannabinoid compounds or any of the listed plant materials is used in a potpourri or incense product, that product would not be illegal.

My advice (and disclaimer).

Don’t make any assumptions about the legality (or illegality) of any substance you might have (or desire to have) based on this post. This post is meant to be informational in nature ONLY. If you have questions or concerns about a product you possess or wish to market and/or sell, YOU SHOULD CONSULT A LAWYER IN PERSON whether that is me or someone else.

I have retained an expert in chemistry to provide detailed analyses of chemical compounds, and to determine whether they fit the law (or are exempted from it). I have also assisted individuals in the potpourri/incense business with compliance strategies. I am available for consultations, if this blog post sparks your interest. You can always reach me on my cell phone – (504) 571-9529 or at



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