New Jersey has become the 4th state in the nation to ban the sale of all synthetic marijuana. There are various forms of this drug that contain dangerous chemicals and are designed to have the same effect on the users brain as standard marijuana. Known variants include brand names such as “K2,” “Spice,” “Down 2 Earth,” “Comatose Candy,” and “Space Cadet.” Possession, sale or manufacture of these drugs is punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, synthetic marijuana can cause devastating effects on the user.
- 92 percent of the synthetic marijuana exposure cases reported to New Jersey Poison Information and Education System in 2011 resulted in a need for treatment in a healthcare facility
- Synthetic marijuana has been linked to violent seizures, elevated heart rates, anxiety attacks, and hallucinations, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Some users have committed suicide or suffered fatal injuries after having extreme panic attacks that were directly attributed to synthetic marijuana use.
- Reports published in peer-reviewed journals associate synthetic marijuana use with psychosis in some patients.
- In 2010, poison control centers received reports about five deaths nationwide associated with synthetic marijuana.
- 14-year-old Brandon Rice, of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, died at Children’s Hospital in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2011. He had been using synthetic marijuana smoked from a Pez candy dispenser. The severe damage to his lungs resulted in four months of suffering, prior to his death of an infection following a double lung transplant.