Ketamine Laws in California

Criminal Defense Picture

Ketamine Laws in California

Ketamine can be prescribed for pain and other medical reasons; however, possessing it and/or selling it is illegal without a prescription. A person can face criminal charges if found to have ketamine or intent to sell it. To learn more, read on and we’ll define the line between the legal and illegal use of ketamine. 

1. What exactly is Ketamine?

1.1 Some other names for ketamine include:

“Special K,” “Vitamin K,” or simply just “K.” This type of drug is known as a controlled substance; a narcotic whose possession, manufacturing, and use are regulated by the government under what is known as the United States Controlled Substances Act.

1.2 Under the Controlled Substances act, ketamine is considered a Schedule III drug:

Ketamine belongs to a group of drugs known as “dissociative anesthetics.” These drugs cause a separation of perception from sensation in the person that takes them. It was created in 1962 and marketed as a fast-acting general anesthetic. Decades later, it was known for being abused and was classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. Ketamine is used as an anesthetic but can cause undesirable out-of-body experiences for patients coming out of general anesthesia. Ketamine is primarily used for animals. In fact, you may often hear of it being used as a horse tranquilizer. Children will receive it as an anesthetic more than adults will because they experience less severe effects. Ketamine is known as a “club drug” for the out-of-body experiences it induces.

1.4 Club drugs

They are used to enhance physical or mental experiences while attending clubs, parties, concerts, etc. People who use ketamine as a club drug have said that it causes a feeling of being floaty or even mild hallucinations. Ketamine can sometimes be used as a “date rape” drug because it can come in powder or liquid form and be placed into someone’s drink undetected. Negative side effects that can be associated with the use of ketamine include high blood pressure, respiratory problems, and depression.

2. Laws that regulate the use of ketamine:

2.1 California's Health and Safety Code 11377

Ketamine can be used legally and illegally, and thus laws have been put into place in California that restrict its availability. California’s Health and Safety Code 11377 details the personal possession of ketamine. Someone can violate this law if:

A: They possess ketamine without a valid prescription.

B: They possess more ketamine than what their prescription dictates, or they have someone else’s prescription.

If they possess ketamine illegally, they’ll face up to six months in jail and up to a $1000 fine. A person may be able to attend a drug treatment program if charged with possessing ketamine unlawfully. Qualifying for drug diversion is defined under Proposition 36 and Penal Code 1000 PC. A person can dismiss a charge for possession of ketamine if they successfully complete a drug diversion program. California’s Health and Safety Code 11379.2 HS defines possession of ketamine for sale:

2.2 Possessing Ketamine for Sale

Possessing ketamine for sale is a more serious offense than possessing it for personal use. A person can be charged with this crime if they possess too much ketamine, which can indicate that they were going to sell it. They can also be charged if found actually selling ketamine. This charge can be either a felony or a misdemeanor.

  1. A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1000.

  2. A felony can be punishable by up to 16 months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine.

If someone drives under the influence of ketamine, then they violate California’s Vehicle Code 23152(f) law.

Driving under the influence of ketamine can be successfully charged if a person is impaired while driving a vehicle. So, driving while under the appropriate amount indicated in a prescription or from anesthesia is lawful.

Most instances of driving under the influence of ketamine result in a misdemeanor.

3. Exploring legal defenses against ketamine charges:

A person can explore different legal options if they are facing a ketamine charge.
They can claim that they held a valid ketamine prescription. They didn’t intend to sell ketamine if they illegally possessed it, but only to use it for personal use. The ketamine they were found with was found under illegal search and seizure, which the fourth amendment protects against.
They claim police misconduct:

A: The ketamine was planted.

B: There was a use of excessive force to find the ketamine.

C: The person was coerced into possessing/selling ketamine.

D: They were not impaired by ketamine when driving, rather something else, including illness, disability, fatigue, etc.

For more information about ketamine charges in California, or even legal aid for said charges, you can contact H Law Group by visiting the following link.