A controlled substance is a regulated drug. Some controlled substances are illegal to possess under any circumstances while others can only be possessed legally with a valid prescription. A simulated controlled substance is a substance that “is purported to be,” but is not, a controlled substance. Simulated controlled substances are sometimes called “look-alike” drugs or imitation drugs.
Simulated controlled substances are different from “counterfeit controlled substances.” A counterfeit controlled substance is a controlled substance that has been made to look as if they had been manufactured by a company that is authorized to do so. A simulated controlled substance is not a controlled substance at all. Selling a bindle filled with baking soda while telling the buyer that the bindle contains cocaine is an example of delivering a simulated controlled substance.
Delivery or Manufacturing With Intent
It is a crime to deliver, or to manufacture with the intent to deliver, a simulated controlled substance when the accused:
- expressly represents the substance to be a controlled substance; or
- represents the substance to be a controlled substance in a manner that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the substance is a controlled substance; or
- states to the person receiving or intended to receive the simulated controlled substance that the recipient can successfully represent to a third party that the substance is a controlled substance.
So, saying “Dude, here’s your cocaine” violates the law if the product delivered was actually inositol, as would saying “Dude, here’s that stuff you asked me for” if the “stuff” the buyer asked for was cocaine. Selling inositol and saying “Dude, you can tell your buyers this is cocaine and they’ll never know the difference” would also violate the law.
The crime described above cannot be committed by delivering a simulated controlled substance to a police officer, including a police officer acting undercover.
It is not a crime to deliver a simulated controlled substance to, or to manufacture a simulated controlled substance for:
- a licensed health care provider for use as a placebo; or
- a licensed health care provider or pharmacist who has a legitimate need for the simulated controlled substance in the performance of his or her duties.
Simulated Controlled Substance Penalties
The delivery or manufacturing with the intent to deliver of a simulated controlled substance is a state jail felony punishable by a state jail sentence of not less than 180 days or more than 2 years.
Selling a look-alike drug is a felony. If you are charged with delivery of a simulated controlled substance and want to minimize or avoid the consequences of a conviction, talk to the criminal defense attorneys at Hamilton Grant.