The Minnesota Supreme Court determined that small amount of meth in bong water make the entire volume into a drug “mixture”. With the water as part of the drug “weight”, that can turn 25 grams, or just over an ounce (equal to 5 tablespoons of water) of water with trace amount of meth into a first degree felony drug possession charge, with penalties of up to 30 years in prison.According to the Pioneer Press, what would have been a drug paraphernalia charge, a petty misdemeanor offense, turns into a charge with a presumptive prison sentence of more than 7 years.
The dry weight of the meth without the paraphernalia was likely only enough for a 5th degree drug possession charge, with much smaller penalties. When meth is smoked in a bong, some of the active substance will mix with the water. The St Paul crime lab analyzed the water and it testing positive for methamphetamine.
The extreme penalty is a byproduct of the crude way that drug offenses are characterized by substance and quantity. The dissenting justices argued that the legislature did not intent for the “compound” to be water diluted with a controlled substance.
The Rice County Attorney agreed with the courts decision in the case, and said it is not the courts decision to determine what controlled substances qualify as a crime.
If so, this crazy decision requires the legislature to make another pass and what it seriously intents the penalty to be for a minor drug possession charge.