Gonjah's effects similar to marijuana
A legal herb with effects similar to marijuana is becoming increasingly popular among high school kids in Albuquerque.
Police at Albuquerque Public Schools are on the lookout for a new product called Gonjah.
"This is definitely something new that a lot of the guys had never head about," said Lt. Allan Rider of APS Police.
Police have made several busts after high school students were caught with Gonjah on campus, said Rider.
The green, leafy product is sold at smoke shops and online.
It is billed as incense not for human consumption, but people are smoking it and talking about it online.
"Every time I smoke it I get so blasted, all I want to do is laugh and sit around and do nothing," said one man who made a YouTube video about smoking the herb.
That is what scares moms like Yvette Parras, who said Gonjah could be a legal way for her teen to get high.
"My concern is it would maybe even get into middle school and elementary school kids' hands," Parras said. "That is where it could become an issue I think."
APS Police said the students who were caught with the herb were suspended, but not arrested, since it is legal.
"What we have determined is we have to take some administrative action because they are bringing some contraband essentially to campus," Rider said.
Parras said some teens avoid marijuana since it is illegal and that could be one less hurdle when it comes to Gonjah.
"With this thing legal, your only consequences could be with your parents," she said. "But there are times where parents don't know what their kids are actually doing."
Gonjah has been compared to Salvia, another potent herb that some people smoke to get high.
Salvia has been banned in some states, but Gonjah remains legal in all 50 states.
Salvia is still legal in New Mexico, although there were efforts to make it a controlled substance last year.
January 25, 2010