As we've discussed previously on our blog ("DEA: No More 'Fake Pot'" 12/9/10), synthetic marijuana is becoming increasingly popular in North Carolina and throughout the country. The substance is currently sold legally in many convenience stores, gas stations and smoke shops. When smoked, it produces a high similar to pot. A bill aimed at banning synthetic marijuana as well as a bill seeking to ban the often abused plant food substance mephedrone made it through North Carolina's Senate yesterday. Each bill will now proceed to be voted on in the House.
Senate Bill 9, the bill focused on synthetic marijuana, was passed unanimously in the Senate by a vote of 50-0. The bill seeks to create penalties specific to the possession or sale of said substance. If passed by the House, the bill could become effective as soon as April 1. Simple drug possession would be an automatic misdemeanor, whereas the possession of a substantial amount of synthetic pot or trafficking of the substance would be considered a Class 1 felony. If the mephedrone bill - Senate Bill 7 - is passed in the house, it could go into effect as soon as December 1.
Often sold under monikers such as K2 and Spice, the mixture of herbs and spices is actually quite different from weed. The herbal elements of synthetic marijuana would produce little, if no effect if not for the fact that they are sprayed with chemicals that partially replicate the psychoactive effect of THC.
Co-sponsor of Senate Bill 9, Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, expressed to the news media the level of urgency for such a bill. "It's impacting young people throughout our state in a very profound and significant way."
Source: WRAL.com "NC Senate OKs synthetic pot ban" 2/11/11