Police Enforcing New Law on 'Synthetic Marijuana'

Smokeable products marketed at 'herbal incense' are now illegal

The so-called "synthetic marijuana" products that produce a high when smoked have been outlawed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Strongsville police are cracking down on local shops that sell the items.

Up till recently, it has been legal to purchase products like Spice and K2, which are often marketed as "herbal incense."

But Police Chief Charles Goss said the DEA put out an order March 1 that makes the items Schedule I narcotics, in the same league as heroin.

"Kids buy it and smoke it -- it's supposed to give them a high like marijuana," Goss said.

But what actually produces the high, Goss said, isn't the vegetable matter they are rolling into cigarettes, but chemicals the plants are treated with.

Those five chemicals have now been identified by the DEA. While a few states have already made the chemicals illegal, the DEA has the authority to impose a one-year ban on them nationwide.

Goss said the products have been sold locally at several places, including Twilight Boutique, 11025 Prospect Rd. Once the DEA issued the order, officers visited the shop, located at the corner of Albion Road, to make sure employees there were aware of the ban.

Sean Lightner, owner of Twilight Boutique, said he was aware of the DEA's pending action on Nov. 24, when a statement was originally released.

"We had it completely out of our store by Dec. 24," he said.

Lightner said he did not sell the items for people to smoke, but said he cannot control what people do with products once they take them home.

"It says on every container, 'Not for human consumption,'" he said.

According to the DEA website, smokeable herbal products marketed as being legal have become popular in the last year or two. They consist of plant material "coated with research chemicals that claim to mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and are sold at a variety of retail outlets, in head shops, and over the Internet.

"These chemicals, however, have not been approved by the FDA for human consumption, and there is no oversight of the manufacturing process," the DEA says.

Brands such as Spice, K2, Blaze, and Red X Dawn are labeled as herbal incense to mask their intended purpose, the site said.

Since 2009, there have been an increasing number of reports from poison control centers and hospitals about the fake pot. While states consider legislation to control the products, the DEA has used its power to place a substance temporarily in Schedule I "when it is necessary to avoid an imminent threat to the public safety."

The DEA said side effects from using the products include convulsions, anxiety attacks, dangerously elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, vomiting and disorientation.

“Young people are being harmed when they smoke these dangerous ‘fake pot’ products and wrongly equate the products' ‘legal’ retail availability with being ‘safe’,” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said on the website.  

ashbash584 March 16, 2011 at 03:04 PM
They are absolutely full of it. They were banning K2 and the like before they actually started research on any possible side effects. Don't be foolish. They don't care about the well-being of Americans, otherwise the FDA and Big Pharma wouldn't be getting away with all the toxins they push on us! Provided there are age restrictions, If someone wants some k2 herb, who are you to tell them that they can't have it? If someone wants to, they will buy k2 smoke whether it's legal or not as that is what happens with anything else that is unjustly and ridiculously prohibited. K2 incense will be no different. Plus, the formulas are constantly changing. http://www.k2incense.org Offers several products that are legal all over the world.
Ron Cannabis April 28, 2011 at 07:12 PM
How could the DEA come out with an order to make something a narcotic. Being a "narcotic" is a chemical and physical property. It's more like they said "we don't know what this stuff is on the account that we didn't get learned on chemistry in school, but were pretty sure it's like real bad stuff on the account that a state senator who is up for re-election said so to my boss" So we're gonna refer to it as heroin for now until someone learns something smart about it" While were on the subject anyone come up with any evidence that marijuana is harmful?
BeanGuy April 30, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Why not make it simple and just legalize pot? It's less harmful than booze, and there has been zero incidents of someone overdosing on it. It's no more a "gateway drug" than tobacco is.
Stephanie October 10, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Akron, Ohio. My boyfriend smokes incense everyday. He is addicted to it. He steals money to buy it, like a junkie. After just a few hours not smoking it he goes through intense withdraws, vomiting nonstop everytime he coughs and when he eats anything, severe cough and pneumonia, increased agitation and anger, dizziness, confusion, diarrhea.... and we've made 3 trips to the ER. As soon as he starts smoking it again these symptoms go away. He quit smoking it once before and it took one whoke week of withdrawing with the symptoms above and then he was clean of it and he had lost 15lbs. He went back to it saying he wasn't going to smoke it all the time like he had before but pretty soon he was back to his old ways and now he will do at nothing to stop smoking it.
JimmyK January 02, 2013 at 07:44 PM
It's annoying that herbal incense gets lumped in with drugs like MDPV ("bath salts") that are truly dangerous. I've been smoking herbal incense that I research at http://smokingblendreviews.com without experiencing any negative effects.


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