Boca Raton couple gets 10 months jail in synthetic marijuana case

William Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

William Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

William and Ann Marie Sands, the couple convicted in November of selling synthetic marijuana as potpourri, will spend the next 10 months in jail.

Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley handed down the sentence Wednesday at the end of a sentencing hearing which comes three months after they tried unsuccessfully to convince a jury that they followed their attorneys’ advice and didn’t believe they were breaking the law when they sold potpourri to head shops,

Aside from the jail term, the couple will serve three years of probation. Because the couple has two children, including a disabled adult child, Kelley said the couple can apply to serve their terms on house arrest or serve their terms separately.

Assistant State Attorney Aaron Papero asked Kelley for two consecutive year-long jail terms for the couple based on their convictions on four of the nine charges they originally faced. Kelley had thrown out two of those charges before jurors began deliberation.

Ann Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Ann Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Defense attorneys Jacob Noble and Michael Maher asked for four years of probation. If the judge wanted to incarcerate the couple, Noble argued, then he could allow them to serve time on house arrest.

“This was just a bad business decision,” Noble told Kelley.

Noble said the jury convicted the couple of a level 1 offense, which puts it on par with crimes like tampering with a lottery ticket, harming turtle eggs and bigamy.

But Papero presented the judge with studies on the perils of synthetic drugs, and added that the Sandses’ operation had sales to all 50 states.

“The effects that these substances have had on people, we’ll never know,” Papero said.