Once again, the state of Georgia is fighting to ban synthetic marijuana.
The substance was recently banned in April, but manufactures found a loophole by altering the molecular structure, making it available again. The Georgia State Board of Pharmacy fought back with an emergency ruling, making the substance illegal once again.
John Bankhead, GBI spokesman, agreed to classify the altered compounds as Schedule I substances. Under the Georgia Controlled Substances Act, law enforcement is granted the authority to seize products such as Spice, and K2 from merchants.
“The dangers associated with these drugs are obvious,” said Gov. Nathan Deal while lobbying for the emergency provision.
Just one week before the ruling, GBI Chief Medical Examiner Kris Sperry confirmed the drowning of a Fayette County was caused by the use of synthetic marijuana. This was the first time that the drug has been officially tied to a death in the state of Georgia. However, there have been other incidents where the chemical has been suspected to play a role.
The legislation that banned the sale of the substance was first inspired when 16 year old Chase Burnett drowned as a result of using the chemical.
However, each time a law is passed in efforts to ban the substance, manufactures quickly respond by switching up the ingredients.
State Sen. Buddy Carter said, “They essentially altered the basic molecular structure and started all over again.”
GBI chemists were able to identify the revised structures, which are now outlawed by the emergency ruling. However, the manufacturers are sure to continue looking for loopholes.
Although additional legislation by the General Assembly would be required for arrests or criminal prosecution, efforts are being taken to protect citizens from the dangers of this substance.
Despite the obvious dangers, synthetic marijuana can still be found and purchased online, in smoke shops, and even in gas stations across the country.
However, the fight to ban the chemical will continue until we no longer have to worry about something so deadly being so accessible.
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Original article ajc.com