Fake Pot Once Again for Sale in Georgia Despite Ban

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Synthetic marijuana sliderPackages of synthetic marijuana are once again available for sale legally, despite a law passed in March banning the drug, because manufacturers found a way around the ban, WSAV-TV in Savannah reports.

As The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange reported last spring, synthetic marijuana, often known by the brand names K-2 or Spice, is created by spraying dried plant matter with a synthetic cannabanoid, a chemical that mimics the effects of THC, the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana users their high. Lawmakers believed the legislation banning the drug—which made illegal the base chemical formula and any alterations of that formula—would close a loophole manufacturers of fake pot had used to skirt previous bans.

"We identified the base formula,” state Senator Buddy Carter told WSAV-TV. “We said any deviation, any alteration of the base formula, would be illegal. That worked for a while. Unfortunately what they've done is they've changed the base formula.”

The new chemical formulation is apparently not covered by the existing ban.

Health risks abound for users of synthetic marijuana, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Yesterday, the first death in Georgia linked to fake pot was identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) chief medical examiner, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported. A 16-year-old from Fayette County, Ga. lost consciousness and drowned after smoking the drug in his parents’ hot tub.

Carter told WSAV-TV that GBI chemists are working on the problem and the state legislature will take up the issue during the next session beginning in January 2013.

"We're going to continue to fight this battle until we win, and we will win," he said.

Photo by John Fleming | JJIE.org

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