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Possession of 16g of Nitrous Oxide is a felony in FL, how much Nitrous Oxide is that?
Q: In Florida, the possession of 16 grams of nitrous oxide is a third degree felony. Could you please tell me how many charges/cartridges that might compute to? I have a feeling that 16 grams of any gas is probably going to be quite a bit, but I may be wrong.

A: The Florida Statute (Title XLVI : 877.111) is intended to ban the use of nitrous oxide as a recreational inhalant and makes exceptions for non-inhaling uses:

"This subsection does not apply to the possession and use of nitrous oxide as part of the care and treatment of a disease or injury by a practitioner licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 464, chapter 466, or chapter 474; as a food-processing propellant; as a semiconductor oxidizer; as an analytical chemistry oxidizer in atomic absorption spectrometry; in the production of chemicals used to inflate airbags; as an oxidizer for chemical production, combustion, or jet propulsion; or as a motor vehicle induction additive when mixed with sulphur dioxide."
[ Title XLVI : 877.111]

There's a couple of possibilities for how the law could be interpreted and used:

  1. As with some measurements of psychoactive substances, they could include
    the weight of any "carrier material" with the substance itself. In this case, a
    single cartridge of Nitrous Oxide, including the weight of the cartridge itself, would
    go over the 16 gram level. A single, full ISI cartridge of Nitrous Oxide weighs
    approximately 27.75 grams. Although absurd, other drugs are treated this way by some courts.

  2. ISI brand nitrous chargers state on the box that the "weight net approximately 8 grams N20 per charger". So that suggests that the Florida law would make it a felony to possess somewhere around 2 or more chargers, a level below any packaging we've seen on the retail market.

  3. They could weigh the actual compressed Nitrous Oxide. We did a little experiment
    and weighed both a full cartridge and an empty cartridge in order to determine the weight
    of the Nitrous Oxide (compressed into liquid) contained in a cartridge. As stated above,
    the full cartridge weighed 27.75 grams. An empty cartridge weighed 20.25 grams. This
    means that the Nitrous Oxide contained in a single cartridge weighs about 7.5 grams.
    Three cartridges would weigh more than the 16 gram minimum listed in the law.

The text of the law suggests that they think 16 grams is a lot (they seem to be using
that level to differentiate misdemeanor low level possession from felony high level
possession). It doesn't make any sense that that differentiation between misdemeanor and felony would happen between two and three cartridges, but there you go.

If one is actually using nitrous for making desserts or other allowed uses, it would make sense to keep around documentation of those approved uses lest one find their whip cream habit being charged as a felony.

Hope that helps,


Asked By : sfg
Answered By : fire
Published Date : 7 / 20 / 2005
Last Edited Date : 1 / 3 / 2006
Question ID : 3097

Categories: [ Law ] [ Nitrous Oxide ]

Ask Erowid v1.7 - Jul, 2005

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