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The legal repercussions of using and possessing drug paraphernalia

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Drug Crimes

As in other U.S. states, Rhode Island has strict laws prohibiting the possession, use and production of controlled substances. But the state doesn’t stop at just the drugs themselves – Rhode Island also has laws that ban any paraphernalia associated with these illicit substances.

The term drug paraphernalia is broad, covering a wide range of items. What are these items, and what penalties can you expect if you’re charged with possessing drug paraphernalia?

Paraphernalia defined

According to state law, drug paraphernalia means all equipment, products and materials intended for use or designed for use with controlled substances. Some examples of drug paraphernalia include:

  • Containers to store or conceal controlled substances
  • Scales and balances to measure substances
  • Planting and cultivation kits
  • Manufacturing and compounding kits
  • Isomerization devices to increase substance potency
  • Dilutants such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose, and lactose to cut controlled substances
  • Blenders, bowls, spoons and mixing equipment
  • Objects designed to ingest or inhale drugs, such as water pipes, bongs, roach clips, syringes and rolling papers

To determine whether an item is drug paraphernalia, a court will consider several factors like the prior convictions of the owner, statements on how the item is used, advertising concerning the item’s use,

Drug paraphernalia offenses

Under Rhode Island law, it’s illegal for anyone to deliver, sell, or manufacture drug paraphernalia, knowing it will be used to grow, cultivate, process, compound, store, or ingest controlled substances. A violation of this law is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and two years of imprisonment.

It’s also a separate offense to deliver drug paraphernalia to a person under 18. This offense is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and five years of prison on conviction.

Drug paraphernalia comes in many different shapes and forms. If law enforcement catches you possessing controlled substances together with any equipment used to produce or ingest the drugs, expect to face multiple criminal charges.

If you are facing charges for drug paraphernalia in Rhode Island, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable legal professional. An attorney may be able to offer you guidance in your case and work to protect your rights.