Legislation introduced by Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer Mann would place restrictions and penalties on synthetic marijuana similar to the controls currently in place for cannabis. Synthetic marijuana is most commonly known as K2 and is a mix of chemically treated herbs that create a high similar to that of smoking marijuana. Medical professionals who have come in contact with users of the product say it is much more potent than marijuana and can include adverse side effects including elevated blood pressure and heart rate, nausea and seizures.
Mann says users believe that since the product is legal it is safe.... “That is not true.” The Lehigh County State Representative says in 2009, 13 calls came into the poison control center’s hotline involving K2, so far this year 567 K2 related calls have been taken...... “This is a growing problem, the product is so new state and federal laws have not been able to keep up.” Nine states have banned synthetic marijuana and Pennsylvania is among six states currently considering a ban. In March, the American Association of Poison Control Centers issued a warning on the effects of the product that also goes by the street names Spice, Demon, Genie and Zohai.
Mann says some smoke shops in Pennsylvania are already selling the product and a simple Internet search turns up sites that will sell the product for about $40 an ounce. Mann says she thinks the bill will pass when the legislature returns to session this fall. Until then she hopes the measure will get people taking and build awareness..... “If you asked me five weeks ago I would have had no clue with Synthetic marijuana was.” She says she hopes parents will start talking to their kids, smoke shops will stop selling the products, and, users will realize that it can be a very dangerous product.