Commonwealth Journal

Local News

February 18, 2012

Synthetic marijuana use is a burning issue

Somerset —  

The growing use of a “legal” product meant to imitate marijuana — and alarming reports that the products can cause serious side effects — have spurred officials to take steps to ban the substance in the county. 
Synthetic cannabinoids, or more commonly known as synthetic marijuana products, have become increasingly popular in recent years because the substance, when smoked, mimics the effects of marijuana but typically can’t be detected in drug tests.
The problem, though, is that the substance can also cause serious side effects that are unpredictable. 
“People are smoking this and taking a trip and not leaving the farm,” said Acting Somerset Police Chief Major Doug Nelson. “It is bad stuff.”
Nelson and Somerset City Council were shown a package of the herbal concoction called K4 during Monday evening’s meeting. The package, which costs about $20, was purchased at a local convenience store.
“Our students can walk in convenience stores and buy this, no questions asked,” said Brad Wilson, with the Adanta Regional Prevention Center, who presented the herbal substance to city council, and to Pulaski County Fiscal Court on Tuesday morning.
City council did not take any steps Monday to ban the substance because Somerset City Attorney Carrie Weise stated that a county ordinance banning the substance would include the city as well.
“We’re gong to see what they (fiscal court) do with it,” Weise said. “If they don’t do something we’ll pass our own.”
After some discussion Tuesday morning about the alarming effects of synthetic marijuana, the court did not hesitate to accept the first reading of an ordinance to ban the possession and sale of cannabinoids in the county.
Pulaski County Sheriff Todd Wood told the court that his patrol deputies reported they were dealing with incidences related to synthetic marijuana at least once a day. 

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