Assemblyman Mark Johns (R,C-Webster) joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle in Albany Thursday to promote legislation which would criminalize synthetic cannabidoids in New York State.
The substance has been banned by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Health Department and the State Senate has advanced legislation to provide fines or prison time for people who possess and sell synthetic cannabidoids. The substances, which are marketed as “K2” or “Mr. Nice Guy,” are often sold in convenience stores and smoke shops and consist of plant material coated with chemicals mimicking the highs of regular cannabis plants. The ban issued this year simply allows law enforcement officials to confiscate the goods.
“These synthetic drugs are becoming a societal problem among youth in our state and in our community,” said Johns. “Time is crucial. The deceptive packaging on these products makes it look like wrapping a piece of poison with a candy bar wrapper. We need harsh penalties now to reflect possible injuries and loss of life.”
Police say the faux pot has dangerous side effects that, in some cases, have proven fatal. Johns was joined by the mother of a 26-year-old who died last year after smoking synthetic marijuana with his friends. She said that the substance is “on the scale of ecstasy.”