Gov. Bentley outlaws sale of synthetic marijuana

Gov. Bentley outlaws sale of synthetic marijuana

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Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that the sale of 24 synthetic marijuana products will be banned statewide.

The products known by their street names of "Spice" and "K2" contain psychoactive herbal and chemical substances and are commonly marketed as incense or potpourri. Spice and K2 are often sold at convenient stores and targeted to teenagers.

Today state health officer Dr. Donald Williamson will sign the official order to make the sale of synthetic marijuana illegal.

"These substances have been wrongly presented as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana," Dr. Williamson said. "By supporting regulations outlawing their possession and sale, we want the public to be aware of the toxic effects and other dangers associated with synthetic marijuana use."

Synthetic marijuana substances can create a high lasting around 15 or 20 minutes, but the side effects can last for weeks, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. Those side effects include anxiety attacks, seizures, hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts and severe depression, the ADPH says.

The city of Anniston recently banned "Spice" after it was connected to two teenage suicides.

At a press conference announcing the ban today, Gov. Bentley said, "Alabamians need to be aware that these goods contain synthetic drugs and other chemicals which are very dangerous to their health. They are being sold in convenience stores and tobacco shops all over this state to unwary individuals including our children."

"We are asking store owners and operators to remove these products from their shelves.  And, we have instructed our law enforcement agencies to take possession of any that they find for sale. Since the substances within these products have been scheduled as controlled substances, it will be illegal to make, sell, possess or use these dangerous drugs," Bentley said.

The synthetic marijuana substances named in the emergency ban will be placed on the list of Alabama controlled substances effective Oct. 24.

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