33 pounds is a hefty amount of synthetic marijuana. Hefty enough, in fact, that the Durham Police Department said it was a record amount for the city, as the News Observer reports, meaning that a 36-year-old man now faces what the News Observer characterizes as the "highest-level trafficking charges possible" for synthetic marijuana.
The Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012, signed into law in July, added 15 synthetic cannabinoids - synthetic marijuana or 'Spice" - and 11 synthetic cathinones - 'bath salts' - to the list of federal Schedule I Controlled Substances. Existing Schedule I Controlled Substances include marijuana, LSD, peyote and ecstasy. The use, possession or distribution of these controlled substances can result in federal drug charges.
North Carolina lawmakers recently passed a ban on the sale of synthetic marijuana and certain bath salts containing the ingredient MDPV, adding them to the state's controlled substance list. The legislation has yet to be signed into law by Governor Bev Perdue, so no one has yet to receive drug charges in North Carolina as a result of synthetic marijuana use.In a related story, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) technicians were responding to a call regarding a combative patient Wednesday evening when the subject of the call drove by their emergency vehicle while en route. EMS responders claim the Salisbury, North Carolina man narrowly missed hitting them on their way to the scene. It is unclear whether the potential accident was a result of the suspect's or the EMS vehicle's speed or reckless driving.
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.
"Fake pot" products have been experiencing a surge in popularity among young people. These products produce effects similar to those of marijuana and, up until now, were legal to purchase. Now the possession or sale of these products could result in drug charges.