Article provided by: Kohn & Yager, LLC
Paraphernalia refers to things you can use to produce, package, sell, or administer illegal drugs. All U.S. states have banned the use of drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia is used in handling marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. They are divided into two main categories:
- Paraphernalia for producing and distributing drugs
- Paraphernalia for drug consumption
Paraphernalia for producing, packaging, and distributing drugs
Drug peddlers buy illegal drugs in bulk, after which they have to resize and repackage the drugs before distributing them. Typical paraphernalia used for this type of job include:
- Weighing scales
- Testing equipment for determining the strength and purity of illegal drugs
- Items used to dilute or cut illegal drugs before reselling
- Packaging items used to resize illegal drugs into smaller units. This may include plastic bags and balloons. Items used to transport illicit drugs also count as distribution paraphernalia
Paraphernalia for consuming drugs
Any object used to swallow, inject, or cause drug administration into the body qualifies as paraphernalia. However, paraphernalia design and usage continue to evolve, affecting U.S. courts’ power to prosecute offenders for paraphernalia possession.
Paraphernalia design often adapts to evolving drug trends. These objects usually have trendy designs and colors that appeal to young adults. The semantics surrounding drug paraphernalia is continually changing. Adapting to these evolving trends helps prosecutors identify and convict individuals for possession of paraphernalia.
Paraphernalia used for consuming drugs are categorized as follows:
- Paraphernalia used for inhalation
- Paraphernalia for injectable drugs
Paraphernalia used with inhalants
These are materials used to prepare inhalant drugs, including:
- Tobacco pipes
- Water pipes
- Plastic, wooden, glass, or ivory pipes
- Roach clips
- Electric pipes
- Chamber pipes
- Cocaine kits
Paraphernalia used with injectable drugs
These are paraphernalia used alone or with other items to administer injectable, illegal drugs. They include things such as:
- Belt or tourniquet
- Steel wool or cotton balls
Substances abused as inhalants
This category describes all substances whose chemical effect is similar to illegal drugs. Inhaling the fumes of these substances delivers the same ‘high’ as marijuana or heroin. Common substances abused as inhalants include:
- Lighter fluids
- Paint thinner
- Dry-erase pens, sharpies, and other ‘white-out’ products
- Some aerosol products
Some items produce intoxicating fumes when burned, including paper, balloons, plastic bags, and tins. Such items qualify as illegal drug paraphernalia if their fumes are used as inhalant drugs.
Is paraphernalia possession illegal?
Many people consider drug possession as a convictable crime. However, you can also be charged for possessing paraphernalia used to handle illegal drugs. In addition, using household items such as ziplock bags to handle or package illicit drugs is a crime.
All U.S. states consider the possession of paraphernalia a crime. You could be charged a fine of $1000 fine or a 1-year jail term for possessing drug paraphernalia in Atlanta. You could also be charged for selling paraphernalia.
Know your rights when charged with possession of paraphernalia. Avoid saying anything that could incriminate you and contact our Atlanta criminal defense lawyers for representation.