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Arizona Takes Action Against Synthetic Marijuana

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to sign into law a bill banning the use of synthetic marijuana substitutes showcases the growing difficulty state law enforcement agencies are facing regarding the growth in popularity of these dangerous marijuana substitutes. While Brewer claims that this is another tool to assist Arizona law enforcement officers in stopping the use of synthetic substitutes, it is unlikely to completely eliminate their use.

Synthetic marijuana substitutes have become popular due to gaps in the laws that regulate drug use. By changing the chemical composition of the drugs, they do not fall under the traditional laws that target marijuana use. Until the new drug compounds are specifically outlawed, their manufacturers can evade most drug enforcement legislation. However, while the new Arizona law targets any drug that incorporates cannabimimetic substances, in addition to drugs marketed under the names “spice” and “bath salts,” it is likely that manufacturers will simply seek to create new chemical compounds that are not covered by the new laws.

Unfortunately, these drugs pose a serious health risk to their users. Like methamphetamine, bath salts and similar synthetic drugs can result in paranoia, violent behavior, hallucinations, and health problems up to and including death. The Arizona Capital Times has reported that over 20 individuals a week were admitted last year to the Yavapai Regional Medical Center and Verde Valley Medical Center due to complications arising from the consumption of these synthetic drugs.

Ultimately, synthetic marijuana will continue to be a major problem in Arizona and other states, especially as its manufacturers will continue to work to evade the current legislation aimed at curbing its production and use. A major question facing lawmakers will be how closely a new chemical compound must resemble currently illegal compounds in order for the law to apply to it. In fact, that is the primary reason that the new law targets such a wide range of chemical compounds that could be used in various current and future synthetic marijuana blends.

While the new law will help to restrict the ability of synthetic marijuana to be openly marketed, it cannot completely suppress its use. However, this law will allow law enforcement agencies to focus on eliminating the marketing and production networks for synthetic marijuana, which will hopefully prevent the increased use of these drugs by Arizona’s citizens.

If you have been suspected of synthetic marijuana possession or use, please give our offices a call as we can help you with the charges. Our offices are available 24 hours a day at (602) 461-8625, or via our secure email form.

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