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How does California law define drug paraphernalia?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

The drug laws of California do not stop at criminalizing the possession and use of illegal drugs. You or someone you know could wind up in legal trouble for having materials that qualify as drug paraphernalia.

What exactly is drug paraphernalia? According to state law, the answer is very broad. While California law does provide some specific examples, it defines drug paraphernalia primarily by actions as they relate to illegal controlled substances.

Production actions

Just about anything that plays a role in planting and producing illegal drugs can qualify as paraphernalia. Such actions include the following:

  • Cultivation
  • Harvesting
  • Compounding
  • Testing
  • Analysis

Paraphernalia can do more than grow and process drugs. Some drug manufacturers use items such as isomerization devices to refine or modify substances for greater potency.

Packaging purposes

The simple use of packaging materials to contain drugs could invite a paraphernalia charge. According to state law, anything used to package, repackage, store or even hide drugs can qualify as illegal paraphernalia. This includes bags, envelopes, capsules and balloons.

Drug usage

Many drugs require some delivery mechanism for use. For this reason, paraphernalia includes devices used to inject, ingest or inhale illegal substances into the body. Hypodermic syringes and pipes are two common examples.

Keep in mind that many kinds of drug paraphernalia actually have legitimate uses. The fact that the police find paraphernalia on your property does not mean you have no defenses against paraphernalia allegations. Facts such as whether or not there was any drug residue on the supposed paraphernalia could play a crucial role in discrediting criminal charges.