Certain items are routinely considered to be used in connection with drugs or controlled substances offenses. Those items are often referred to as drug paraphernalia and include:
- Pipes, bowls, bongs, and other smoking devices
- Needles and syringes
- Packaging material
- Spoons and vials
West Virginia law does not make it illegal for a person to have possession of drug paraphernalia. It is, however, illegal in West Virginia for a person to be engaged in an illegal drug paraphernalia business. See W. Va. Code § 60A-4-403a.
Drug paraphernalia is most often used to distinguish a misdemeanor drug offense from a felony drug offense. Smoking devices, for example, are more consistent with personal use as opposed to delivery or distribution. Scales and packaging material, along with cash, are indicative of felony possession with intent to deliver as opposed to misdemeanor possession.
Since WV law does not make it illegal to have possession of drug paraphernalia alone, oftentimes, a police officer will charge an individual with simple possession if residue is found in or on drug paraphernalia, such as a smoking device or a set of scales.