Georgia Lawmakers did the right thing in April by passing SB370, Chase’s Law, which was promptly signed by Governor Nathan Deal. The law prohibited the sale of synthetic cannibus and was broad enough to cover those formulas classified after manufacturers tweaked formulas to get around a 2010 law.
Manufacturers and distributors have once again become creative in ways to circumvent the legislation by changing the basic chemical/molecular structure so that it isn’t covered under Chase’s Law.
With the legislative session over for the year, there’s little that could be done to address this new threat that wasn’t covered in SB370. But a GBI/GDNA News Release post on the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s Facebook Page shows that last week, Governor Deal sent a letter to the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy requesting it invoke its authority to adopt an emergency rule to classify these new formulas under Section I of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act.
The GBI has noted an increase of synthetic pot, still using names such as K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Blaze, and Red X Dawn, but with these new molecular structures are appearing in increasing numbers in Georgia. Their findings lent further evidence that this emergency ban should be enacted by the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy.
The AJC has reported that GBI Chief Medical Examiner Kris Sperry officially confirmed that Chase Burnett died as a result of smoking synthetic marijuana. Under the influence, he drowned because he was unconscious. His is the first official death directly attributed to synthetic marijuana but stopfakepot.com notes that users of synthetic cannabinoids can experience symptoms that include, but are not limited to, the following: anxiety, seizures, nausea, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, aggression, psychosis and death.
The emergency ruling by the Georgia State Board of Pharmacy on Tuesday makes synthetic marijuana illegal again. As a Schedule I substance, law enforcement can seize the product from distributors but the new measure does not allow for arrests or criminal prosecution, according to GBI officials.
When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, 2013, legislators will need to address the many possibilities of this dangerous drug.