Thiele: Dangerous Synthetic Marijuana Has No Place in New York State

Measure to combat growing problem of synthetic marijuana passes Assembly

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced that the Assembly passed legislation that would add synthetic cannabinoid compounds to the Schedule I list of controlled substances – effectively banning the sale and possession of so-called “synthetic marijuana” (A.1451-A). Possession with intent to sell synthetic cannabinoid compounds would be punishable by up to seven years in jail under the Assembly’s legislation. “We’re seeing more teenagers and young adults getting hooked on these types of dangerous synthetic drugs,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “We are talking about unpredictable and addictive substances that are being manufactured in unregulated labs – they have no business anywhere near our East End youth.” Synthetic marijuana compounds – also known as Spice or K2 – are substances with features and effects that attempt to mimic those of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main compound found in marijuana. These drugs can be four to five times more potent than regular THC.1 Synthetic marijuana is often sold as herbal incense and labeled “not for human consumption,” allowing manufacturers to avoid government regulation.2 Because of its current legal status and accessibility, synthetic marijuana use has been a growing trend among teens. A recent study found that one out of nine high school students have used the manufactured drug in the past year. Last year, the New York State Department of Health placed a ban on the sale of synthetic cannabinoid compounds in an effort to protect more New Yorkers from the damaging effects of these drugs. “The only way to keep use of this drug from spreading is to make sure we face it aggressively,” Thiele said. “Time is of the essence to crack down on this dangerous and mounting trend among our youth.” Synthetic substances are chemically manufactured in laboratories where the effects of marijuana are enhanced, resulting in dangerous and addictive drugs. Using these drugs produces symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, rapid heartbeats, high blood pressure, violent behavior and death. Other physical signs of use include increased agitation, pale skin, seizures, vomiting, profuse sweating and uncontrolled body movements.