“Fake” weed provides a real high

    A legal substance touted as “synthetic marijuana” has some lawmakers talking about a ban.

    A legal substance touted as “synthetic marijuana” has some lawmakers talking about a ban.
    (Photo: Wikipedia / Schorle)

    Lehigh County Representative Jennifer Mann wants Pennsylvania to join nine other states to ban the substance called “spice” from store shelves.

    The herb blend is treated with chemicals and sold as incense online and in some tobacco shops

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    Chris Goldstein is spokesman for Philly NORML, which works for the legalization of marijuana. He says the best-known brand name of synthetic pot is K2.

    Goldstein: It’s a little bit sticky, it’s covered with oily chemicals, and people do smoke it. They roll it in cigarette paper, they sometimes mix it with tobacco or even marijuana. Users who do use it report that it’s very intoxicating, it’s a much different experience than natural marijuana when you inhale that.

    The active chemical in “spice” was created by university researchers to test certain receptors in the body.

    The ingredient is sometimes called “synthetic marijuana” but that worries advocates for the legalization of natural marijuana. They don’t want true cannabis to be confused with an untested, and little understood, drug.

    A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association says law enforcement officers haven’t reported much experience with the drug. But, she says, in urban areas like Philadelphia, real marijuana is relatively inexpensive and easy to find, so there may be little demand for a synthetic version that costs $45 for a 5-gram packet.

    Jennifer Mann say the herb blend can speed up the heart rate and cause nausea, confusion and agitation.

    Mann: I did talk to a smoke shop owner who told me he refuses to sell it. But it doesn’t go a day where a young person is not coming in his shop asking if he sells it. Clearly young people are seeking this product, know it exists and they’re looking for it.

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