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Fake Pot, Real Issue

January 25, 2012, 7:29 AM by Austin Hoffman

Fake Pot, Real Issue
Synthetic Marijuana has been one of the hottest topics in recent months. Now our state legislature is taking a closer look at it and possibly ending the controversy.

The senate Health and Human Services Committee will vote Wednesday on whether or not to ban 23 substances. Many of them are the compounds that make up synthetic marijuana.

"It was alarming actually," Senator Elizabeth Krause said.

Monday morning Senator Krause, who sits on the Senate Health and Human Services committee, heard testimony about the dangers of fake pot.

"We learned that these designer drugs, synthetic cannabinoids or marijuana, bath salts and also agents that are burned as incense are producing really alarming symptoms in people," Sen. Krause said.

Senator Jean Hunhoff, the committee chair, said one of the biggest dangers is that they don't know the long term affects.

"We don't know what these side affects are, what are going to be lasting implications. The other thing is when they do become under the influence of this drug how their behaviors change," Hunhoff

Hunhoff has a constituent in her district whose son has been in and out of treatment for fake pot.

"Certainly as a parent with a concern for her child, she's experiencing these things first hand," Hunhoff said.

Even though they're looking to ban the substances, they say this most likely won't be the end of this battle.

If the bill passes, the senators believe that new substances will take its place. But that doesn't mean they should be ignored.

"They’re obviously not harmless. They’re obviously not being used for what there original intent was in the case of like the bath salts and incense," Krause said.

"You know, I think that there’s enough awareness out there that we want to do something. Is this the answer? At least it’s a way to get these drug ingredients, these chemical compounds that are contributing to this off the market," Hunhoff said.

Opponents to the ban say the substance is already labeled not for human consumption.

Monitor the latest on Senate Billl 23
Listen the Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing when it begins at 10:00 a.m.

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