Maryland law punishes the use, the possession with intent to use [except paraphernalia connected with marijuana], unauthorized delivery or sale, or advertisement of drug paraphernalia A first offense is subject to a maximum $500 fine, with jail possible for subsequent offenses. The uses, or intended uses, that are subject to criminal prosecution are defined by statute in sweeping terms. It is illegal to actually use, or to have an item that one intends to use to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, or conceal” CDS, or “inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce [CDS] into the human body.” Section 5-619 of the Criminal Law Article.
It is often said that anything can be considered paraphernalia under the appropriate circumstances.
Maryland Criminal Caw includes, in exhaustive, but not exclusive, detail, items that may, in context, be considered drug paraphernalia. Those things specifically listed include:
- a kit used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting any species of plant that is a controlled dangerous substance or from which a controlled dangerous substance can be derived
- a kit used, intended for use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing a controlled dangerous substance
- testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled dangerous substance;
- a scale or balance used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring a controlled dangerous substance
- a diluent or adulterant, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose, or lactose, used, intended for use, or designed for use in cutting a controlled dangerous substance
- a blender, bowl, container, spoon, or mixing device used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding a controlled dangerous substance
- a capsule, balloon, envelope, or other container used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of a controlled dangerous substance
- a container or other object used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing a controlled dangerous substance
- a hypodermic syringe, needle, or other object used, intended for use, or designed for use in parenterally injecting a controlled dangerous substance into the human body
- a metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipe with or without screen, permanent screen, hashish head, or punctured metal bowl
- a water pipe
- a carburetion tube or device
- an object known as a roach clip used to hold burning material, such as a marijuana cigarette that has become too small or too short to be held in the hand
- a miniature spoon used for cocaine and cocaine vials
- a chamber pipe
- a carburetor pipe
- an electric pipe
- an air-driven pipe
- an ice pipe or chiller
Source: 5-101 of the Criminal Law Article
In similarly expansive fashion, the law provides courts with an exhaustive, but not necessarily exclusive list of factors to consider when determining if an item, in context, is to be considered drug paraphernalia.
- any statement by an owner or a person in control of the object concerning its use
- any prior conviction of an owner or a person in control of the object under a State or federal law relating to a controlled dangerous substance
- proximity to CDS
- of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of this section or to a controlled dangerous substance
- any instructions provided with the object
- legitimate uses
- expert testimony
Source: 5-619 of the Criminal Law Article
The upshot is that anything, when viewed in context, and in light of all the surrounding circumstances, can be considered paraphernalia. This charge is sometimes thought of as being, variously, a throw away -i.e. the State has other more serious charges it is aggressively pursuing- or an add-on/fallback- i.e. the State thinks it can get a conviction on this count, if the other charges fail. Whatever the common perception, any criminal charge is a serious one, and make no mistake, any criminal conviction is a highly serious one.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 12/7/20.