New York to Combat Sale of Synthetic Cannabinoids
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new law enforcement actions intended to fight the sale of illegal synthetic cannabinoids, such as K2.
Moving forward, New York will actively pursue civil, criminal, and administrative actions against businesses who make, possess, or sell the drugs.
“The evolution of synthetic drugs is an alarming public health risk—but we are on the front lines of the battle. The state will continue to identify emerging compounds that put users in danger and aggressively chase down sellers of these toxic substances.”
The current law states that any one who possesses, distributes, or sells synthetic drugs may incur a $500 fine and face up to 15 days in jail. Civil penalties may include a $2,000 fine for each violation.
This comes on the heels of last week’s news, when 33 people in a synthetic cannabinoid, zombie-like state were found wandering the streets of Brooklyn.
What Are Synthetic Drugs?
The drugs in question are known as synthetic cannabinoids, or synthetic marijuana. They are typically plant materials sprayed with psychoactive chemical additives in attempt to copy the effects of THC.
The drugs are often marketed as potpourri or incense to avoid legal ramifications, and are commonly known by the street names K2 and Spice, among others. Drug manufactures frequently change the ingredients in these drugs to stay one step ahead of law enforcement.
However, unlike marijuana, these drugs have been responsible for multiple overdose deaths. Also, side effects reported to poison centers included agitation, rapid heartbeat, drowsiness, vomiting and confusion.
In recent years, there has been a stark increase in synthetic drug-related deaths,, as well as calls to poison centers and emergency room visits. Over a recent 5 year period, U.S. medical toxicologists reported 456 cases caused by cannabinoid synthetic drugs
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology