The conflict between state and federal laws, the scope of California's medical marijuana laws and local ordinances barring or regulating medpot dispensaries have all been tough issues across the state for some time now.

As the courts and officials struggle with the state of medical marijuana issues, law enforcement in Southern California have made arrests alleging that a group of people violated California drug possession and sales laws by allegedly selling bath salts in medical marijuana facilities.

Ventura County authorities claim that the substances contain methamphetamine-like qualities and were sold under the monikers, such as, "Bubbles," "Stardust," and "lady bug attractant" according to a Southern California district attorney.

Authorities apparently opened an investigation into the synthetic substances last summer. Officials assert that a woman was in a car accident. Authorities claim that she had taken bath salts before the crash, according to NBC Southern California. The investigation apparently involved an undercover operation.

Authorities announced last week that as a result of the probe, three people were arrested on suspicion of drug charges. Two men worked at stores in Ventura County where uncover agents claim to have bought synthetic substances in the sting. A spokesperson for the stores says that the substances are no longer on the shelves.

However, the two men arrested face charges of possession for sale and sales of bath salts. A Utah man was also taken into custody--officials claim that he packaged the substances and sold them to the California stores.

Prosecutors in Southern California say that they are cracking down on synthetic substances, which can have many different chemical structures. But, Ventura County officials apparently are looking at crime lab reports and claim that they will file drug charges if the reports show sufficient similarities to other drugs, according to NBC Los Angeles.

Marijuana laws in California have been in flux for years. The use of synthetic compounds as evidence to bring criminal charges is doing little to clarify overall drug laws in California. Anyone accused of a drug crime has the right to a criminal defense lawyer who can assess the state's allegations, and provide a strategy to defend against drug charges.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Three Arrested in Bath Salts Bust in Ventura County," Lolita Lopez and Olga Spilewsky, Feb. 5, 2013