.

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.

charles b purcell April 29, 2012 at 03:26 PM
What was the point of this article ? State Legislatures all over America have been dealing with this issue for months.Our own Governor has signed a bill outlawing the sale throughout the state of Georgia.This is just another pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement by the ineffectual Bell.The commissioner would rather discuss specious issues than actual facts,such as, his United Community Bank deal ,the circumvention of proper procedures to help his supporters,the numerous liens placed against his home for failure to pay his bills,the fake endorsements he has been forced to remove from his website,his personal attack against our Attorney General,the fact he claims membership in a Rotary Club he was forced out of for failure to pay his dues and the list goes on and on and on.....Hold on 4th District voters,in a little more than 90 days we can vote this phoney walking embarrassment out of office forever !
Patrick Bell April 29, 2012 at 07:32 PM
The ban on this product by the state is limited to certain compositions of Spice. What I have proposed simply tightens it up and covers what the state law can't cover, mainly due to how long it takes for the state to react. The lack of knowledge about the state law by the critic above is shameful. His, and his candidate's, total lack of knowledge on the issues affecting Forsyth County families is, and should be, an embarrassment. As many continue to see, the politically motivated personal attacks continue but I'm proud that I actually get things done and focus on issues. I'm sure the personal attacks will continue because there is nothing of substance being offered by the candidate backed by the poster above. Of course, that's of no surprise. I am going to keep working on making Forsyth County better than it already is and focusing on issues. This particular issue is of great concern and something I will keep moving along and rid our county of this type of product.
Kristen Berry April 29, 2012 at 08:58 PM
The point of the article is to allow voters to back candidates who get behind crucial issues such as banning synthetic drugs. In my May column last year, I expressed the same concerns Bell is having. Since then, the problem of synthetic drugs has grown unchecked, and it's infecting communities everywhere. http://cumming.patch.com/articles/trendy-new-drugs-get-cuter-by-the-minute Don't expect your commissioners to walk on water--Do be grateful they stand on solid ground when it comes to synthetic drugs.
David Milum April 29, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I am finding that Georgia Law, if properly enforced, does cover all areas that Bell wants to use as a spring board for another one of his hair-brained schemes to help his wilted campaign position. In clearer words since Patrick Bell will be reading this – “ANOTHER ONE OF BELL’S FOOLISH PLOTS TO WASTE TAXPAYER’S CASH.” Perhaps if Mr. Bell spent more time fabricating a legitimate explanation directed towards the Voters as to why he keeps telling one untruth after another, such as the United Community Bank secret deal vote, he would do better. But hearing Bell admit – that he is an unrepentant fibber, as accurately demonstrated on You Tube presentations, will most probably have to wait until hell freezes over. Realistically, Mr. Bell will do well to stop wasting his time on squeezing his nutty notion to the extreme that he will ever serve in any political position around these parts in the future. The Taxpayers are quite fed up with Patrick Bell. I know because twice last week I overheard complainers about Bell state; “yea, I got a belly full Patrick Bell too.”
charles b purcell April 30, 2012 at 03:04 AM
@ Patrick,so we are to assume you are correcting the state's expert chemical engineers and improving on the poor job you feel was done by Mark Hamilton,Mike Dudgeon and our other legislators? All your half-baked plan will do is expose the taxpayers of this county to multiple litigation by retail and manufacturing companies seeking compensation when you can not prove intent. As to my lack of knowledge of state law, you are the one recently convicted of violating the state ethics law.Perhaps you should have demonstrated your knowledge then,instead of insulting and demeaning our Attorney General with your little hissy fit. I differ with your interpretation of my comments as personal attacks.You spent a great deal of time at the recent debate bragging on your service on the County Finance Committee.To me ,the way you have conducted your personal finances,is a chilling foreshadowing of what we can expect from you in your professional capacity. Your recent efforts for your diminutive and disgraced supporter, John Kieffer, were so blatantly obvious, it was almost amusing. My candidate,Ms. Mills, is so far superior to you as a public servant it is obvious why I support her.I can assure you,however, that Tim Hubbard, Bill Mulrooney,maybe even Amos's boy Meagher,would all receive my vote before you and four more years of your futility.
charles b purcell April 30, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Also, Patty boy ,when I have something to say to you,I say it with my name written clearly across the top.I don't pretend to be Wade Sullivan, Chris Addams,Fred or any of your other pseudonyms.And I don't send anonymous letters through servers in Austria,usually used by Neo-Nazis to disseminate their hate material.You know,like you did the day before the last debate.Proving once and for all what a craven capon you have become.
charles b purcell April 30, 2012 at 03:26 AM
How has it "grown unchecked " ,when the Governor signed new legislation just last week ?
Gary Cooper April 30, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Banning synthetic drugs is a crucial issue, at the state level, and was handled by our state legislators this session and a law banning synthetic marijuana was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. This is not an issue local government needs to handle outside of the Sheriff's office which their sole purpose is to enforce it. Laws like these are best left to the state government. The county has more pressing issues to tackle and this is not one of them.
Taylor LeBaron April 30, 2012 at 09:08 PM
@ Patrick, I Completely support your actions to ban such substance, my family has been impacted greatly by the use of this, almost resulting in my brothers death. This Is not by any means a safe alliterative to cannabis, IMO it's 1000% worse. Kids, teens and even adults looking for a "high" purchase this product hearing "oh ya man this will get you stoned" Fact is yes it will give you a "high" but at what cost? is getting high really worth death? a visit to the ER? One death from this stuff is a sign to BAN it. In Forsyth County & the great state of Georgia, has had WAY more than ONE instance, of ER visits death and family's destroyed from loss of life. Thank you Mr. Bell for your dedication to revoke the sale and purchase of this product. -TL
Jen Farrell April 30, 2012 at 10:10 PM
I am extremely concerned to see Commissioner Bell and the rest of our Commissioners being attacked for trying to protect our citizens from a potentially life threatening substance that is available to our unsuspecting kids, neighbors, families, etc; Spice is a serious problem due to the chemicals it contains and the manufacturers ability to change those substances to dodge the laws that have been written. Here is a link to an article discussing the challenging nature of writing and enforcing laws on synthetic marijuana: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/spice-makers-alter-recipes-to-sidestep-state-laws-banning-synthetic-marijuana/2011/11/30/gIQA6gpHNP_story.html Reading irrelevant comments that bash Bell and take the focus away from the issue at hand are absurd! It is appalling to see the bully mentality being used by some to further their own political agenda. Name calling, false accusations,and attempted character assassination takes away from the real issues at hand and wastes energy that could be used for productive discussions, pertinent research, and ultimately improved quality of life for us all.
charles b purcell April 30, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Taylor Lebaron the law was passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor,Patrick Bell had absolutely nothing to do with that.I suggest you contact your state legislators and ask them their opinion of Bell's political grandstanding.As someone whose family has been subjected to this scourge,you should be outraged at Bell's playing politics with the health and safety of our fellow citizens.
Patrick Bell May 01, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Taylor, thank you for your comments of support. I admire your efforts and desire to rid our county of spice. The proposed Forsyth County ordinance is not critical of the state code and is not intended to replace it. The ordinance is designed to back up the state law and provide additional strength which helps the Sheriff's Office rid the county of this stuff. Don't let the comments of naysayers sway you. If we keep our eye on the issues we can make a difference.
D. Placek May 01, 2012 at 01:36 AM
When are people going to realize that drug prohibition does not work? Arresting troubled kids and sending them to jail harms them more than it helps, and the idea that we can eliminate distribution of recreational drugs is a fantasy. I wouldn't want my kids smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol either, but it is better that if they do they have access to products manufactured by reputable companies with quality control. Making criminals out of kids wanting to get a buzz only drives them to unregulated markets and more dangerous substances where the risks are much higher. If children have died from using this "Spice", the blame should be layed squarely at the feet of those who have outlawed safer alternatives and thereby created the demand for these dangerous products.
Pappy Hinds May 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Legalize marijuana and the spice will go away ! The smoke shop guys are saying that kids are coming to Forsyth County from as far away as the airport to buy this crap. It is not even close to being anything like THC. The law that just passed didn't seem to do anything, you can walk in today and buy a variation of it TODAY !! It needs to go away NOW
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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