New legislation on ‘spice' a step in the right direction
Despite ongoing concerns about the legalization of medical marijuana in our state and its potential harm, the real danger lurks behind substances that masquerade as marijuana.
Sometimes commonly sold as “spice” or “bath salts,” the chemical substances supposedly mimic the effects of marijuana and are attractive to those who want the drug's “high” from an over-the-counter product.
The physical and mental impacts of using these chemical products can be devastating for some people, including seizures and psychotic changes. Death can sometimes result.
There is awareness of the problem. There is a federal ban on the synthetic marijuana and many states – including our own – prohibit them.
The bans have limited impact, however, due to a technicality. Makers of the products simply alter the formulas slightly and rename the products and they are “legal” again.
A proposed Arizona law sponsored by one of Yuma County's state senators, Don Shooter, hopes to address that issue.
The law would expand the definition of dangerous drugs to include any product that contains any amount of key components of synthetic marijuana or “has a substantially similar chemical structure,” so that even if the formula was changed slightly it would still be banned.
The law would also have a minimum fine of $25,000 for selling or manufacturing the substances rather than the current $1,000. The higher fine is more indicative of the harm these substances can cause and should help discourage their sale.
We are glad to see an attempt is being made to address the legal loophole that continues to allow these substances to be sold.