What is synthetic marijuana? Synthetic marijuana—referred to as spice, fake pot, K2, and other names—is gaining widespread safety concerns across the country. The drug is cheap and readily available at gas stations nationwide and has left a trail of severely injured and deceased users. If this toxic drug has harmed you or a loved one, contact our Boston personal injury law firm for legal assistance. You can rest assured that a Boston personal injury attorney from our team can assist you.
What is synthetic marijuana? It’s a psychoactive designer drug that is created by spraying natural herbs with synthetic chemicals. This may be a legal product, but the abuse of this substance can cause long-term damage and even result in death. You can meet with a product liability lawyer in Boston, MA from Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C., when you or a loved one was harmed by this product.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes the product as:
“A wide variety of herbal mixtures that produce experiences similar to marijuana (cannabis) and that are marketed as “safe,” legal alternatives to that drug. Sold under many names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, and others—and labelled “not for human consumption”—these products contain dried, shredded plant material and chemical additives that are responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) effects.”
Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of the product market synthetic pot as incense, potpourri, or a “legal” alternative to marijuana. However, it should not be used for human consumption. In reality, this dangerous product is not used as incense or potpourri, but rather abused the same way as marijuana–by smoking it. The effects of the spice somewhat mimic those of cannabis, but the chemicals are anywhere from three to five times more potent than the THC found in marijuana.
Synthetic marijuana users experience elevated mood, relaxation, and altered perception with some reports of extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations. There have also been reports that the product causes a rapid heart rate, vomiting, agitation, and confusion with regular abusers experiencing withdrawal and addiction symptoms similar to those of any other drug. According to a University of Michigan study, one out of nine high school seniors has abused this product. In 2010, there were reports of more than 11,000 emergency room visits nationwide caused by the use of synthetic marijuana. Even death has been caused by synthetic weed.
For several years now, synthetic marijuana or spice mixtures have been easy purchases in gas stations, head shops, and via the internet. In other words, this product is sold legally at such stores because of how it is marketed and advertised (incense/potpourri). So, it does not require Drug Enforcement Administration authorization. Most concerning is that synthetic marijuana is most commonly abused among young people. The National Institute on Drug Abuse attributes this to “easy access and the misperception that Spice products are natural and therefore harmless” and “that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.” Contact Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C. if you want to file a synthetic marijuana lawsuit.
The sad truth is that fake pot is marketed, advertised, and sold primarily to teenagers, young adults, and drug abusers. The packaging often contains images of cartoon characters with bloodshot eyes, smiley faces, or Scooby-Doo.
Recently, the DEA designated five active chemicals most frequently found in synthetic marijuana, making it illegal to sell, buy, or possess them. Complicating the issue further is that the manufacturers slightly change the chemical compound, and the drug then becomes “technically” a different substance not covered by the DEA’s banned substances. Doctors and drug-enforcement officials really have no clue what is in the drug and the potential short- and long-term effects this product may have on abusers.
Taking all of this into consideration, the manufacturers and retailers (convenience stores and gas stations) are, in essence, legal drug dealers. Both adults and minors can enter a local convenience store, purchase synthetic marijuana and the drug paraphernalia sold right aside it, and abuse the drug without any criminal ramifications. Across the country, synthetic marijuana in its various forms has caused and continues to cause, harm, serious injury, and death to teenagers and young adults.
The manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of this product should be held legally responsible for the physical injury and deaths they have caused. The lawyers at our law firm have vast experience in a broad range of personal injury and wrongful death cases, with a particular interest in product liability cases against any entity associated with the manufacturing, selling, and distributing of synthetic marijuana.
Contact an attorney at our Boston firm if you or someone you know was in any way harmed by this serious and dangerous product. We proudly serve clients throughout Boston, MA, and the surrounding areas.