.

Bell Seeks Ban on Fake Pot

Forsyth County Commissioner Patrick Bell wants a complete ban of synthetic marijuana known as "Spice."

(and variations on that name such as: K2, Pep, Zohai, Yucatan Fire and Genie) is marketed as incense and is sold in smoke shops and convenience stores. The harmful substance mimics the effects of THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives users a high.

But Spice is actually much stronger and that concerns Forsyth County Commissioner Patrick Bell and other officials.

Producers add a chemical spray, which contains a compound that has an effect similar to that of marijuana and package it as incense. Users roll it into cigarettes or smoke it in pipes. Selling Spice as incense circumvents Food and Drug Administration testing.

Bell said in a news release, producers and marketers continue to find loopholes and he has a problem with that. The product is prominently displayed, and easily available to anyone, at several Forsyth County and Cumming outlets.

This is something Bell wants to see come to an end.

“Store owners, managers and clerks innocently claim they are selling incense and say they are unaware the product is smoked," Bell said. "They are not fooling anyone and I intend on letting them know that the citizens of Forsyth County are on to them and do not want that type of business around.”

When a Georgia teenager died as a result of smoking Spice, Bell vowed to find a way to ban the sale, distribution and possession in Forsyth County. 

“I have grave concerns about products like this being marketed to kids knowing that they can cause serious effects, including death, just for the sake of a few bucks.” he said.

Bell, who is seeking a second term in District 4, brought the proposed ban forward at a recent Board of Commissioners work session along with Commissioner Todd Levent. With unanimous support, Ken Jarrard, county attorney, was instructed to draft an ordinance that would address this growing problem. The draft ordinance is to be presented at upcoming public hearings where it can be adopted by the board after the second hearing.

The DEA lists five variations as “chemicals of concern,” but because Spice doesn’t contain THC, the chemical that makes marijuana, hemp and other cannabis illegal, it is not included on the list of controlled substances.  The DEA ban was made after citing a surge in emergency-room visits and calls to poison-control centers that included seizures, hallucinations, paranoid behavior, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat and elevated blood pressure in synthetic cannabis users, the news release stated.

K2 is just one of the names for herbal preparations powdered with a synthetic cannabinoid, JWH-108, created by Clemson University organic chemist John W. Huffman in the mid-1990s. Georgia HB 1309, places K2 as a Schedule I controlled substance alongside heroin and above cocaine, Ritalin, and opium, that are all Schedule III. The bill passed by a 148-2 vote in the House and a 48-0 vote in the Senate.

making the sale of synthetic marijuana illegal. Named for Chase Burnett, SB370 was named “Chase’s Law.” Burnett was a 16-year old honor student and soccer player from Fayetteville who died in March after smoking synthetic marijuana.

Editor's Note: Cumming Patch is not affiliated with nor endorses any candidate running for public office.

Pappy Hinds May 01, 2012 at 06:59 PM
He may pass out next to it !
Random May 03, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Dear America. Denying the inevitable is the first sign of stupidity. Wake up. People smoke marijuana and live normal productive lives. When a 16 year old realizes that he/she can still get good grades and smoke pot, the respect of the law and the reasoning behind the law is lost. If they decide that pot wasn't as bad as everybody tells them it is and then go on to try heroin or meth, that decision may be the last decision that they ever make with their natural free will. Pot is illegal beause nobody can remember a time when it wasn't. If you think alcohol and cigarettes should also be illegal (and don't use them), I don't agree with you but I respect you. Congrads on not being a hypocrite and being true to your beliefs. As for the rest of us... the intelligent realize that the law was passed based on arguments that would be downright illegal today. The stupid only vote for the status quo because that is all they know or they don't have the confidence to divert from the group of people whose collective beliefs have become their identity.
Concerned cumming Resident July 10, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Its nothing like pot.get off the streets." or shops"or at least they shouldve stated 21 not 18.these kids dont know what there getting into.illegalize pot this is one of the biproducts.very dangerous specialy mixed with other items.and thats what the kids R doing!
Bobby Thompson July 18, 2013 at 02:05 PM
They need to do a better job of identifying the chemicals being used to manufacture spice and ban them more quickly than they are now. It just takes them too long. It sends people to the hospital, some even die, and the chemical might not be banned for 6 months or a year. Check out this guys experience and tell me that this should be legal: http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/one-of-the-worst-spice-trips-i-have-ever-seen

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