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NY Senate Passes Measure To Criminalize Synthetic Marijuana

NY Senate Passes Measure To Criminalize Synthetic Marijuana

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 05/18/2012 in Medical Marijuana Trends

The New York State Senate has passed a legislation to criminalize the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana. The bill entitled S-6694, would also criminalize the sale and possession of hallucinogenic chemicals which are deceptively referred to as “bath salts”.

Synthetic marijuana, also known as fake marijuana, is herbs that are chemically sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. Some more commercial names for synthetic marijuana would be K2, Spice, Cloud 9, and Black 9, which all have dangerous side effects such as rapid heart rate, tremors, loss of consciousness and sometimes hallucinations. Substituted cathinones, or otherwise referred to as “bath salts”, are chemically related to methamphetamines and ecstasy and can also cause harmful physical and psychological impacts.

“These chemicals are extremely dangerous and are a growing health concern for people of all ages,” said Senator Bill Larkin. Larkin hopes that this legislation will keep these drugs off the streets and out of the hands of young children. Besides the listed side effects, there have been some incidents directly related to synthetic drugs that end in harsh sentencing.

Last week, Richard A. Velazquez, nicknamed “Psycho”, was sentenced to ten years in a state prison and five years on parole for his guilty plea to felony counts of assault and strangulation in an attack on a woman and her infant child. Velazquez admitted that the smoking of a synthetic marijuana product between himself and the victim, had directly contributed to his actions.

Supporters of the bill have said that bath salts are almost as strong of a hallucinogen as LSD. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law last year that banned the sale of bath salts, and the New York State Department of Health recently banned the sale and distribution of synthetic marijuana through an Order for Summary Action, although possession of these substances continues to be legal.

In order to address this issue, the legislation criminalizes the possession of these products. With this bill, the penalties for the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana and bath salts would be similar to those for marijuana and methamphetamines, respectively of course. Therefore, sale of these substances to a minor, or on or near school grounds, would constitute a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The New York Department of Health would also add a database to its website in order to provide retailers, law enforcement and the general public with a listing of trade names, physical descriptions, brand news and images of the various products known to be either synthetic marijuana or bath salts.

At this point, 40 states have some form of ban on these items on the books. The United States Military has also been cracking down on the sale of the items their bases, including Fort Drum which is located near Watertown.

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