Felony Charges for Cooking Concentrated Marijuana

A Utah man is facing felony charges after authorities responding to a fire at an apartment building discovered the tenant was cooking concentrated marijuana.

Mini lab

Photo by: Dr. Brainfish

Photo by: Dr. Brainfish

18 year old Michael Irey of Eagle Mountain wasn’t making pot brownies when he accidentally caught his kitchen on fire, he was extracting the THC from the marijuana and cooking it down into highly concentrated marijuana “dabs”. Dabs are similar to hash, yet they are more pure and extra potent. Because of the increased THC potency of dabs and even with the lesser potent hash oil and other forms of concentrated marijuana, the penalties for production are far higher than for marijuana that is left unaltered. The charges are so severe, manufacturing concentrated marijuana is considered to be operating a clandestine drug lab.

2nd degree felony for concentrated marijuana

When speaking of a clandestine drug lab, it is usually referring to either a meth or crack lab. However, a lab or kitchen where there is cooking or production of concentrated marijuana such as dabs or hash falls under the same category as a meth lab. Operating a meth, crack or concentrated marijuana clandestine lab is a 2nd degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“Hazardous or dangerous material”

Photo by: Reuben Strayer

Photo by: Reuben Strayer

The reason making concentrated marijuana is punished as severely as making meth is explained generally in the Clandestine Drug lab Act. “ . . .because of its quantity, concentration, physical characteristics, or chemical characteristics (it) may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality, an increase in serious illness, or may pose a substantial present or potential future hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise improperly managed.”

Know the laws for your state

With many states legalizing marijuana and others reducing their charges, it is important to know the specific laws for your state. For more information on Utah’s drug laws or to speak to an attorney about charges related to marijuana, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Marijuana Cultivation in Utah

Four young adults were arrested in Cache County, Utah for multiple drug charges including marijuana cultivation.

Photo by: Mark

Photo by: Mark

Drug Raid in Northern Utah

During a raid on a Logan Utah home on July 21st 2015, four people between the ages of 18 and 21 years old were arrested when officers arrived at the home in the early morning hours with a search warrant.  Located inside with the four individuals were two pounds of marijuana, mushrooms, and two marijuana plants.  Since the plants were found, marijuana cultivation will be added to the possession charges.

Illegal gardening

Whether it’s a mini garden consisting of a couple plants in a home closet or hundreds of plants spread across acres of land, marijuana cultivation is against the law in the state of Utah.  While neighboring states may be relaxing laws regarding possession and marijuana cultivation, Utah so far has not.  Those found guilty of marijuana cultivation can face up to five years in prison.

Law and penalties for marijuana cultivation

Utah code 58-37-8 states that “it is unlawful for any person to knowingly and intentionally produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance.”  Any person found violating this law in regards to marijuana is guilty of a 3rd degree felony while repeat offenses would be 2nd degree felonies.

In due time

Excluding the nineteen states where marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes; four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well.  All of those states where recreational marijuana use is legal are surrounding Utah in the western United States.  It’s just a matter of time before the majority of the states including Utah have similar laws.  Until then, possession or marijuana cultivation is not worth the consequences.  For more information on marijuana laws, or to seek counsel regarding possession or marijuana cultivation charges, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Drug Possession, not Choking, Real Cause of Fleeing Police

drug possession involved in high speed chase

Photo: Justin Herald

On Saturday, Nov. 29, a high-speed chase ended at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo. The driver claimed his passenger was choking, but the police weren’t buying it. He was charged with failing to stop for an officer, drug possession, and other related charges.

Everybody has a Story

Police must grow weary of all the stories people try to concoct when they are apprehended. In the case of William Harry Doutis Jr., 53, when he finally pulled over at the hospital after a high-speed chase on I-15 that exceeded speeds of 97 m.p.h., he told officers that he was going that fast because his passenger was choking.

According to a report from KSL News, after the passenger filled out a voluntary statement for police saying that he was never choking and that Doutis had just told him to lie to the police, Doutis admitted to smoking marijuana. However, he said he couldn’t perform the field sobriety test because of “numerous problems that prevented him from taking the tests.”

Other physical symptoms led police to run other tests on Doutis which came back positive for methamphetamines. He was booked into the Utah County Jail for failure to stop for an officer, obstruction of justice, drug possession, driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended license.

Drug Possession Just One of His Worries

Given Doutis’ lengthy criminal history, including two incarcerations at the Utah State Prison, it’s not looking good for his defense. Of his numerous charges, drug possession is one of the more common charges Utahns may encounter and carries a wide range of potential penalties.

According to the Utah Controlled Substances Act, Section (2) “Prohibited acts – B,” it is unlawful for any person to possess or use a controlled substance, “unless it was obtained under a valid prescription or order.” If Doutis was charged for the marijuana, that particular drug possession charge ranges from a class B misdemeanor to a second degree felony based on the amount in the suspect’s possession. The class B misdemeanor is for less than an ounce, then the charges jump from one ounce to one pound, one pound to one hundred pounds, and over one hundred pounds, the second degree felony.

The class B misdemeanor marijuana possession, where most casual users fall, carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. Remember the key is “up to.” Don’t leave your fate in the hands of a public defender. If you have been charged with marijuana possession, contact an experienced criminal justice attorney who is looking out for your best interests.