It’s cheap and has code names like “Happy Hour,” “Spice” and “K2.”
But it can no longer be found in stores.
The New York State Health Department banned the sale of synthetic pot on Thursday, after doctors and politicians raised concerns over the chemicals and side effects of the pot-like product.
Last week, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah warned doctors that chemicals in the pot-like product have had serious health effects on users, death and acute renal failure.
“Calls to New York State Poison Control Centers have increased dramatically in 2012 and severe side effects including death, acute renal failure, as well as other significant negative effects to the cardiovascular and central nervous systems have been linked to use of these products,” Shah said in a statement.
At the beginning of March, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration took emergency action to classify five of the chemicals in synthetic marijuana as illegal substances, making the selling and possessing of these chemicals illegal in the United States.
The chemicals in synthetic pot are combined in order to simulate the high created by THC in marijuana. The condom-shaped packets, which are often disguised as potpourri and contain a “not for human consumption” label, are usually smoked.
New York is the 39th state to ban the synthetic pot and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for a bill that would ban selling any kind of synthetic pot.
“The drugs that are sold as ‘synthetic marijuana ‘are new and poorly understood, but reports from poison control centers show that they are toxic and can be very dangerous,” New York City health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told Fox News New York. “Because they are sold in stores, people may believe they are safe and that use of the drugs is increasing rapidly in New York City. With this order we are getting them off store shelves and telling everyone in New York City to never use them.”
We can only wonder what the next drug craze will be.