Say goodbye to so-called fake pot.
The countdown has begun for an all-out ban on synthetic marijuana products in Texas. On Friday, products like K2 and spice are being outlawed. It will be illegal to manufacture, distribute, sell, or even possess these substances, which are often marked as herbal incense.
Substance abuse counselor Linda James says make no mistake-- it is very similar to marijuana.
"This is a mood altering chemical. This is another drug, another way that people have found to change reality and get high," said James. "If it didn't alter the way you felt they wouldn't use it and there wouldn't have been such a demand for the product and an outcry."
James works at the Lufkin Alcohol Drug Abuse Council where she says she's treated several clients who have used K2.
"They have been under the influence. Their behavior has become unmanageable. There were several incidents of family violence with youth under the influence," said James. "One female indicated it as addictive and used it. It lead her back to marijuana really quickly she said and then almost back to a couple of other drugs."
Since January of 2010 about 600 calls were made to the Texas Poison Center Network related to K2 exposure. The Texas Department of State Health Services is following several other states in outlawing synthetic marijuana products.
"This is just a step in the right direction that our country and our nation and our people that we realize that addiction is a problem and we're trying to do something about it," said James.
James says the ban will help protect young people while lowering the crime rate.
"Our community will be safer," she said.
Legal penalties include up to a $4,000 fine and jail time.
Again, the ban takes effect Friday. It follows a temporary ban in March making "fake pot" products illegal for at least a year.
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(News Release) - The Texas Department of State Health Services is outlawing marijuana-like substances that are commonly found in K2, Spice and other synthetic marijuana products. The ban will become effective April 22.
DSHS placed five synthetic cannabinoid substances in Schedule I of the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances, making it illegal to manufacture, distribute, possess and sell the substances. Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are Class A or B misdemeanors.
K2 or Spice, often marketed as herbal incense, contain substances that produce psychoactive effects similar to those from smoking marijuana. These marijuana-like substances are readily available through smoke shops, gas stations and the Internet.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration used its emergency scheduling authority to temporarily ban synthetic marijuana or similar "fake pot" products that mimic the effects of marijuana. The DEA action March 2 made it illegal to manufacture, sell or possess these products for at least one year.
Following the DEA's action, DSHS is required by state law to place the substances on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances unless the commissioner objects.Schedule I, the most restrictive category on the Texas Schedules of Controlled Substances, is reserved for unsafe, highly abused substances with no accepted medical use. Five chemicals, JWH -018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol that are found in K2 were placed on the Schedule.
Penalties for the manufacture, sale or possession of K2 are outlined in Section 481.119 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act. The penalties remain in effect unless the Texas Legislature determines a different penalty group for the substances.
Persons found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor are subject to a fine not to exceed $4,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year. Persons found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor are subject to a fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days.
Since January 2010, approximately 600 calls were made to the Texas Poison Center Network related to K2 exposure. Reported adverse effects associated with use of these marijuana-like substances include chest pain, heart palpitations, agitation, drowsiness, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and confusion.