Barclay: Health Department's Alerts Provide More Reason to Ban Synthetic Marijuana

March 26, 2012

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I--Pulaski) said today the New York State Health Department's alerts recently sent to healthcare providers, emergency departments, and county health departments across the state, warning the dangers of synthetic marijuana, is a clear indication that our laws need to change to ban these substances.

"The Health Department's alerts are a clear message that we need to make these dangerous substances illegal. The Health Department states in their alert that they need to be removed from commercial sale and distribution in New York. This is for certain. My bill in the Assembly and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Patty Ritchie would do just that and give law enforcement the tools they need to penalize sellers and users," said Barclay. "I'm pleased to see the State Health Department recognizing the dangers of these substances and warning health care providers as well."

When smoked, this synthetic variety produces extreme paranoia, hypertension, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts. Users under the influence of synthetic marijuana also struggle to operate a vehicle or perform other responsibilities.

"The Health Department also states that two deaths have been linked to the use of synthetic marijuana," said Barclay. "One is too many. It's time to include this bill on the Assembly calendar and pass this legislation, to do all we can to make these substances illegal. Right now, people are able to walk into convenient stores and purchase these products, which are sold in attractive packages and labeled with names like Spice, K2, and Happy Shaman," said Barclay.

Barclay's bill would prohibit the sale and distribution of chemical compounds that mimic the effects of marijuana. The legislation would add “synthetic cannabinoids” to the controlled substance list. The legislation also would enable law enforcement to penalize users similar to how drug users are penalized.

To sign the petition to ban these substances, visit To read the warning issued by the New York State Health Department, visit