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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Synthetic marijuana sold at convenience stores



fakepot.jpgI'm sure I'm not the only one feeling like an out of touch old fogey today after reading this  eye-opening story by my colleague Rodney Thrash that many convenience stores sell synthetic marijuana under the brand names Spice, K2 Red Magic, Red Dragon, Diesel, Serenity and Blueberry Meditation.

It's strong, as accessible as soda pop, and it's legal.

I've long thought we had a dysfunctional drug policy in this country and now it seems the laboratories that cook up pills and fake pot are the ones launching another front. It's no longer some shady drug dealer in the backwoods we have to keep our eyes out for.

There are laws being drafted now to outlaw the synthetic weed, but one of the stores that sells it offers another point of view:

Randy Heine,  owner of Rockin Cards & Gifts in Pinellas Park, sells a variety of herbal blend incense concoctions, which contain the synthetic compound JWH-018, from this case in his shop.  Heine said that children should not have access to synthetic marijuana. In fact, a sign at his store says you must be 21 to buy. But he doesn't support an outright ban. Regulate fake pot, he said, but don't ban it.

"It's raising $15,000 in extra state sales tax a year," Heine said. "I'm just one store. Multiply this by this whole state. There are 5,000 stores or more that are doing $100,000 more in business a year because of this product and they're paying taxes, and you'll lose all of that."

Is he right? Should we simply put a warning label on it and allow it to be sold to adults only?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 7:49am]


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