Home > It's A Legal Matter > What you know — and maybe don’t know — about synthetic marijuana

What you know — and maybe don’t know — about synthetic marijuana

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader

2012-03-01


You might already know a thing or two about synthetic marijuana. It’s commonly referred to as “Spice” or “K2.” The product is comprised of a mixture of herbs that are coated with chemicals. Last year, it became a crime to possess, deal, manufacture or smoke the stuff. The new law actually banned numerous compounds with names such as JWH-015 and JWH-398. The product was marketed and sold as incense or potpourri. Most packaging stated that it was not to be consumed. So, this mixture of herbs and chemicals is off the shelves, right? Wrong.

Manufacturers are circumventing the statutes by modifying the chemical composition of the product. If the incense doesn’t contain any of the banned compounds, then the mixture is purportedly not illegal. That’s why this incense or potpourri product is still being sold at a store near you (and near your kids). This “legal” version is dangerous. It’s not regulated. The short term and long term impact on humans has not been tested. Remember, the people who are making these types of products are expressly stating that the product should not be ingested. It isn’t grown; it’s made. There’s nothing natural about it. The manufacturers aren’t stating their product is safe for human consumption. It’s the youngsters and adults who are buying the stuff who are disregarding the manufacturer’s warnings.

I have no idea about the chemical composition of my old basketball shoes. But I do know that I wouldn’t want to eat or smoke them. Emergency rooms get a lot of visits from incense smokers. People have died from ingesting these types of synthetic marijuana products. This stuff isn’t regulated or tested. In addition to causing serious medical conditions, synthetic marijuana products when ingested can adversely affect the mental health of its users. Paranoia, hallucinations and delusional thoughts are just some of the possible effects.

In Indiana, it is a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly possess or make synthetic marijuana. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable up to one year in jail. It is a Class D felony to possess synthetic marijuana in an amount more than two grams or if the person has a prior conviction for possession of marijuana or synthetic marijuana. A Class D felony is punishable up to three years in prison. It is a Class C felony to possess synthetic marijuana in an amount more than 300 grams. It is also a Class C felony to deliver synthetic marijuana to another on a school bus or within 1000 feet from a park, family housing complex or youth program center. A Class C felony is punishable up to eight years in prison.

Avoiding jail or prison is a great reason not to come near anything coming close to statutory definition of synthetic marijuana. But an equally important reason is to avoid the known and unknown health risks associated with consuming it.

Parents should not be comforted to know that their child is smoking “legal” potpourri. Make sure your kids know that “legal” doesn’t mean safe. There’s no law in Indiana that expressly prohibits a person from smashing his face into a steel beam. Just because it’s “legal” to do so, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. There’s a reason that the people making this type of potpourri aren’t telling you to smoke it.


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Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com.
This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you.

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