Even more dangerous than the real thing — synthetic marijuana is harmful and toxic, according to experts, and now the state Department of Health has banned the sale and distribution of the substance.
The order comes after the governor asked the agency to take action and calls for sales and distribution of these products “to cease immediately.” Those who fail to comply with the order could be subject to fines and other penalties.
The fake pot, which is sold as incense or potpourri, is known by such brand names as Mr. Nice Guy, K2, Spice, Galaxy Gold and Smiley Dog. It can have numerous negative side effects including increased heart rate, hypertension, seizure, loss of consciousness, acute renal failure and death, according to the DOH.
Synthetic weed is a mix of herbs and flowers that is sprayed with research chemicals, according to Herman Lozada, a resident of Rosedale and specialist in the drug addiction field for more than 25 years. The substance was created in laboratory settings to test neural receptors found in the brain and body and was never meant for human consumption, Lozada said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has legislation pending to make the drug illegal nationwide. State lawmakers are seeking the same in New York. Some 40 other states already have laws that classify the substance as an illegal drug.