Drug possession laws do not only cover illegal substances like heroin or meth. Drug users and manufacturers employ various tools and devices in order to manufacture and use drugs. The law refers to such tools as paraphernalia. Like the drugs themselves, a police officer could seize paraphernalia from you as evidence of a crime.
You may fear that you own something that could incriminate you if a police officer discovers it. A better understanding of what Missouri law says about drug paraphernalia could help you to understand if you are in any legal danger.
Describing drug paraphernalia
Some states specifically define items as paraphernalia. Cocaine spoons, bongs and water pipes are common examples. However, Missouri law defines paraphernalia by its use. The state will consider items to be paraphernalia if a person uses them specifically in connection with controlled substances.
The uses of paraphernalia
In general, state law makes it illegal to use items for the following purposes:
- Creating drugs, including planting and growing them
- Processing drugs, such as preparing and analyzing them
- Storing drugs, including packing or concealing them
- Ingesting drugs by means such as injection or inhalation
Defining paraphernalia by its intended use puts the burden on law enforcement to prove that you used an item in your possession to produce or ingest drugs and not for a legitimate purpose. The police might claim that a pipe found next to a bag of cocaine was clearly meant to smoke the drug. However, if you have a syringe and a prescription to use it to inject medicine to treat diabetes, law enforcement should not conclude that you have the syringe for illegal purposes.