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What is Considered a Drug Paraphernalia Crime in Minnesota?

Can a sock be considered drug paraphernalia? That’s a question that has made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Jan. 14, 2015 SCOTUS heard arguments regarding the case of Moones Mellouli, a Tunisian man who was living legally in the United States before he was deported after pleading guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia, according to NPR. Mellouli was arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence and having four Adderall pills in his sock. He plead guilty to a lesser charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, and the paraphernalia was named as the sock that carried the pills. SCOTUS is considering whether the charges, and the sock, were grounds for Mellouli’s deportation.

While this case involves other elements such as immigration laws, it also brings up a very simple question: What is drug paraphernalia?

Definition of Drug Paraphernalia

Here is what Minnesota Statute 152.01 outlines as drug paraphernalia:

"’Drug paraphernalia’ means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are knowingly or intentionally used primarily in (1) manufacturing a controlled substance, (2) injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance, (3) testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance, or (4) enhancing the effect of a controlled substance.”

Consequences

Going further, there are different levels of consequences depending on what exactly you’re doing with the paraphernalia:

  • Using or possessing drug paraphernalia is a petty misdemeanor. Examples of this include bongs, chillums, needles, scales pipes, miniature spoons, or roach clips.
  • Any delivering or manufacturing of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, and delivering any paraphernalia to minor is a gross misdemeanor. This encompasses any act of giving drug paraphernalia to another or making the paraphernalia.
  • Any advertisement of drug paraphernalia is a misdemeanor. To get around this many head shops that sell drug paraphernalia or post signs that say things like “intended for tobacco.” No matter what reason one may have drug paraphernalia, it is still illegal to possess.

Another thing to know is that raw materials, money, and equipment can all be seized if they are intended or associated for use with controlled substances. Containers and transportation surrounding drug paraphernalia may be subject to this as well. The court will decide whether or not these things will be given back to the individual or not.

For more information on Minnesota’s drug paraphernalia and controlled substances laws, click here. As for the Mellouli case, SCOTUS is expected to render its verdict sometime in June. Read more about the Mellouli vs. Holder case here.

Got questions on your own drug paraphernalia case? Contact our office today.

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